By Nadine Kam
Nadine Kam photos
Honolulu Community College Fashion Technology students and recent graduates turned out in support of their former teacher and mentor Amos Kotomori. From left are JennaBea Galton, Christopher Ching, Amos, Reise Kochi, Jarene Barrett and Thomas Downes.
Amos Kotomori launched his collection of men’s contemporary giclée print shirts at Neiman Marcus on Saturday afternoon, welcoming dozens of friends—old and new—and well wishers. A second event will take place 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sept. 24.
Amos has been a renaissance man in the art-design-production-education fields for three decades, and while he started out as a textile-turned-fashion designer in the 1980s, his path changed. You can read the print story here. Ironically, starting to teach the fashion show production class at Honolulu Community College, and being exposed to students’ enthusiasm and excitement in learning the biz, beginning two years ago, rekindled his own love of fashion and desire to reboot and reinvent.
He’s been working on his collection for a year-and-a-half, and those who came late to the event had to be content to place an order for shirts. His first shipment is already sold out. Hopefully, this bodes well for Amos’ shirts getting picked up by Neiman’s for national distribution. It’s not easy getting into the stores, and it speaks to the quality of his shirts that he was able to do so his first time out.
Mehrzad Solymani, shopping with his wife Heidi, tried on one of Amos’ sample shirts, all that was left by 2 p.m. Men had to place orders for the next shipment.
It was a good time to study the shirts, with their intricate wrap-around designs, which lined up at every seam due to the method of printing on panels of cloth, an expensive process. I spoke to HCC instructors Joy Nagaue, Lillian Zane and Karen Hastings, who all showed up in support of Amos’ work, and they marveled at the construction and fabric, rich silk-cotton blends.
What I’m waiting for, though, is his first women’s collection, which he now says probably won’t be out until holiday 2011. That’s a very long wait, considering I saw the start of it, the fabrics and prints, at his home in May. That was during a party for 2010’s newly minted designers from HCC alumnus Jay Sario. Before the guest of honor arrived, Amos offered to show me his works-in-progress, including gorgeous silk chiffons that make you want to cocoon and drape yourself in them. Can’t wait til they’re street ready!
Amos with a slimmer Amy Hanaiali’i, who shared the secret of her quick weight loss, appetite-suppressing drops and a mere 500 calories a day, in other words, half of what most people normally eat for lunch!
Amos with Honolulu Community College Fashion Technology Program instructor Joy Nagaue, who just got back from watching former star pupil Andy South’s “Project Runway” collection on the runway at New York Fashion Week. She said she’d brought all kinds of omiyage and lei for Andy and his fellow designers and staffers at Lifetime, but designers were whisked away immediately after the show to avoid any contact with the general public due to the secrecy surrounding the show’s finale. She caught up with Andy later, who was responsible for distributing the goodies from Hawaii.