ʻĀhinahina —Co-creating with Nature’s Cycles
Making the Business Case for Sustainability
Sustainbility Focus: This submission demonstrates the strategies and opportunities of bringing in a sustainability focus into a business context (with awareness on greenwashing), and how a sustainability focus in business actually makes great business sense.
Objective Focus: This submission showcases my final project, which taught me to take into consideration the entire picture of my sustainable design decisions (both the social and economical impacts) through integrating sustainability principles and seeing business as a great opportunity to make effective change happen (Restorative Economics). It also allowed me to define if the sustainable design idea was a good business decision or not.
General Company Description:
ʻĀhinahina is a local fashion company on the island of Maui, Hawaiʻi, whose business focuses on creating collections of island lifestyle products that co-create with nature’s cycles. ʻĀhinahina turns abundant locally sourced fibers and material waste into products that share the diverse stories of the Hawaiian Islands. ʻĀhinahina is a symbolic reminder of our dedication to collaborating, serving and designing with our natural environment and for our local community, maintaining all of our product process and infrastructure on island and partnering with local organizations in service of parks, resource conservancy, and the perpetuation of cultural practices.
Products and Services:
ʻĀhinahina’s products and services offer a diversity that caters to different target needs and assists in our commitment to creating a circular product line and an awareness towards conservation. The company’s products and services include physical raw material sales, product’s in the company’s designed collection and the potential to be a part of an emerging ecotourism economy through facility tours and local tourism experiences.
ʻĀhinahina is the first local business in the Hawaiian Islands who has committed itself towards using all natural and all local based materials for the product collection, and the first to invest in the concept of creating a local based industry with all creation streams happening on Maui, or kept within the Hawaiian Islands. The pricing of ʻĀhinahina’s products will reflect those within a smaller starting niche market with limited production amounts, higher quality invested in products, higher value for the customer through direct relationship and options for customization, and intimate services for the upkeep and care of the products.
the company will take the opportunity to jump on the establishing local farmer’s market and slow food movement bandwagon, and curb it towards lifestyle products holding the same beliefs.
ʻĀhinahina aims to target the following customer segments with our raw material sales and designed products to local farmer’s markets drawing local residents and conscious customers, Millennial tourists and visitors wanting meaningful local Maui made souvenirs in tourist places such as Pāʻia, Wailea, Kīhei and Kapalua, local respected celebrities such as well-known traveling musicians, Hawaiʻi based designers and small clothing businesses needing material to print on, local small vendors in malls, shopping centers and community hubs, local nonprofits (inclusive of the other neighboring islands) working towards preservation of land, plants, and cultural practices. Ex: partnering with Maui Botanical Gardens to collaborate on designs highlighting their native plant garden, and cultural arts centers like the Hui Noʻeau Visual Arts Center, which has a local artist shop and art buying community.
ʻĀhinahina is a local fashion company on the island of Maui, Hawaiʻi, whose business focuses on creating collections of island lifestyle products that co-create with nature’s cycles—low environmental impact, and Cradle to Cradle® inspired purposeful design and function. ʻĀhinahina turns abundant locally sourced fibers and material waste into products that share the diverse stories of the Hawaiian Islands. ʻĀhinahina refers to two things—the silversword plant endemic to Maui, named for its grey-white color, and later a name referring to blue denim cloth and jeans as they were introduced to the culture. The Maui ʻāhinahina species living on top of Haleakalā (the island’s 10,000 ft. volcano), is found nowhere else on earth but these slopes. With a huge decline of this species in the past 20 years due to global warming, it is an image of the struggle of our modern times, as well as an icon of protecting what is uniquely Maui. ʻĀhinahina is a symbolic reminder of our dedication to collaborating, serving and designing with our natural environment and for our local community, maintaining all of our product process and infrastructure on island and partnering with local organizations in service of parks, resource conservancy, and the perpetuation of cultural practices. ʻĀhinahina works towards supporting new fiber and material research through our nonprofit Kupukupu, that has a backbone in using traditional knowledge and practices with contemporary methods, knowing that the long-term goals for sustainable fashion lie in new and thoughtful methods of creation that can be produced locally using established and healthy resources.
The Living Principles for Design framework is a catalyst for driving positive cultural change. Created by sustainability professionals working with the AIGA (a US national graphic arts industry group), the LP-Framework distills the four streams of sustainability -– environment, people, economy, and culture -– into a roadmap that is understandable, integrated, and most importantly, actionable (Gaby Brink n.d.).
With ʻĀhinahina’s business goals to serve as a model for a circular economy – one that is responsible in design and purpose and focused on conscious creation— the framework from the Living Principles for Design outlines important details on how our overall business plan will honor sustainability in comprehensive and action oriented steps
Mission, Vision and Values
Company Goals and Objectives
Bring science, advocacy and art together through research and product creation.
Shift the current mindset of consumerism and fast fashion through education, advocacy and story, communicated through our products.
Engage the community in creative ways to bring cultural awareness towards environmental concerns and resource management.
Be a part of the fashion waste solution, and a hub for inspiration, creativity and a place to access information on better consumer practices.
Be the first fashion company to be designed, made, and produced on Maui using local resources within a circular economy model mindset, and use this model to inspire others to invest in such practices.
Positively impact the tourism industry by creating more meaningful products and “Made in Maui” souvenirs for local and visiting consumers.
Add more value and worth to the brand “Made in Maui”.
Generate enough positive feedback and sales from our small-scale designs to encourage more variations and designs in the collection.
Create an interest for talented designers and artists to stay in Hawaiʻi, by providing more steady jobs available to them.
ʻĀhinahina’s philosophy is to work directly with the surrounding local resources – physical, human, and intellectual—to support families and communities. Engaging with the community and maintaining strong relationships with them will build the foundations for trust in and support for ʻĀhinahina and the companyʻs vision towards bigger social change.