Why not?


POSTED: Thursday, January 21, 2010

After unleashing the Acid Dolls Spring/Summer 2010 collection last fall, Cindy King's biggest worry should have been seeing her designs through the manufacturing stage and making sure they'd find a home on retailers' racks.

Instead, she found herself with the extra task of readying a boutique of her own. Soon after the show, she was approached by the Royal Hawaiian Center to open up a store there in hope of bringing the brand's youthful energy and style to Waikiki.

Opening a boutique had been King's lifelong dream, but her immediate thought was that the offer was premature. The long-range plan she envisioned involved opening a boutique in five years, not simultaneously with marketing her first — commercially untested, mind you — collection.

“;I really had to sit down and think it. I was scared,”; she said. “;I talked to a lot of other store owners who said they felt the same as I did when they started, but they said I should do it, so I said, why not?”;

She signed the lease in early November and soon found herself looking at a blank shell of a store. She credits two years of experience working at Banana Republic as a visual merchandiser with helping her develop her vision of the store, enlisting artist Jay Luckey to create a blossoming tree on the boutique's





        Place: Royal Hawaiian Center, third floor (near Doraku Sushi)

When: 8:30 to 9:30 p.m. tomorrow, with 9 p.m. fashion show


Admission: Free


A video of the Acid Dolls Spring/Summer 2010 fashion show, held Aug. 20, can be viewed here.


main wall.

“;I wanted a tree because I want to be grounded. I think everyone should be rooted. If you have a strong belief system and values, everything will flow.”;

There certainly is flow to the store's open floor plan, with the cashier station designed to look like a bar, a lounge area for restless boyfriends, and art-filled walls that beckon to artists.

And King's street couture won't remain untested for long. The boutique is divided in half, between a kawaii side whose style icon is Marilyn Monroe, and a more evening-oriented side marked by a portrait of Audrey Hepburn, and King said it's been fun to see which side women gravitate toward. She said that visits by Japanese tourists are marked by constant exclamations of “;kawaii, kawaii, kawaii!”; while local women tend to gravitate toward the darker, sexier styles.

KING IS enough of a workaholic to keep powering ahead on her own sense of discipline, but she admits that a comment attributed to “;Joe Cotton,”; posted to the Fashion Tribe blog gave her extra incentive to formalize her plan of action.

He had written: “;It's too bad there is no industry here for these people to actually make a living in ... then these people could be gainfully employed.”;

King said, “;We should be supporting the artists and designers of Hawaii. All businesses are looking for fresh talent, things that are different to bring to market. Maybe I can be one of the forces to kick off something new.

“;While I was still in school, I would always ask my professors, what do I need to do, and they were always talking about New York market or L.A. market because doing fashion in Hawaii is really hard. We don't have a big industry. But I want to look past that. There is a community here and girls here who love fashion.

“;I want to attract artists and collaborators to bring their style to match with my store,”; she said. “;I want artists who come into this space to feel motivated to create.”;

She's working with Luckey to bring his line of Righteous Armor T-shirts for men and women to the boutique, as well as a line of collaborative T-shirts with artist Remi Mead, a clothing collaboration with local designer Matt Bruening, as well as a reunion collaboration with former partner Cecelia Lee's Jewel Numkki line.

“;A lot of students have been calling me and asking to be my intern, but I don't know what they can learn by following me around if they want to be a fashion designer. The designs are inside my head. The best thing I can do is ask them to create some pieces for the store and see if it sells.

“;I wish there had been a store like this to give me a chance when I was in school.”;