Surf culture reinterpreted by 24 Karats Surf

November 2nd, 2010

Nadine Kam photos
LDH (Love+Dream+Happiness) Apparel/24 Karats Surf designer Manabu Kawatani, left, and 24 Karats Surf manager Megumi Suzuki greet visitors at the front of the new 24 Karats Surf store at 260 Beachwalk Ave., in Waikiki.

Surf culture is alive and well in Japan, and the wave has hit Hawaii with the opening of 24 Karats Surf, a Hawaiian-style clothing brand from LDH Apparel, designed by Manabu Kawatani, and inspired by one of Japan’s hottest pop stars, Takahiro, of the group Exile.

A grand opening party took place Nov. 1, from 11:45 a.m., but fans from Japan were camped outside the store before it opened, long before shoppers were to be admitted at 1 p.m. Most were hoping for a glimpse of Takahiro, who wasn’t slated to attend.

I didn’t know much about the company before heading out, and I kept looking for a jewelry store on Waikiki Beach Walk before being redirected to Beachwalk Avenue around the corner. Ohhh! Pay attention now because the building it’s in is in a flurry of construction, with the new Hard Rock Cafe and Wyland Cafe in the works.

In the meantime,  24 Karats Surf embraces nostalgia for 1970s Americana and Hawaii tropical and beach boy themes, with tanks (about $38), T-shirts (about $40), caps and accessories for men and women. There are also 24K-branded macadamia nut chocolates and coffee, ready for the holidays.

Exile has a 24 Karats urban/street brand in Japan, but the surf line is available only in Hawaii … at least for now.

From left, Naoto Maekawa, Reiko Tokushige Rogers and Tetsuzo Nagashima, were among the guests at the grand opening.

On the hat rack.

Exile fans from Japan showed up for the opening.

You can tell the shop is designed for Japanese, rather than Hawaii clientele since the extra-large aloha shirt in Pam Davis’s hands is equivalent to an American-size medium.

More T-shirts on display.

Usually, store openings are associated with delicate finger foods befitting scrawnier fashionistas, but this one had an incredible spread from nearby Arancino restaurant, including three different kinds of pasta, three different kinds of pizza, a trio of salads, and more.

A beautiful caprese featured imported mozzarella.

There were deli meats and sliced Parmesan.

A manager’s special pizza was topped with shrimp, onions and garlic.

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