Nothing Says Aloha Like Hawaii’s Lokahi Swimwear and Designer’s Words

It’s no secret that Hawaii is a magical island with its clear blue waves, beautiful watercolor sunsets and fiery volcanoes – and nothing captures the spirit of Aloha better than swimsuits. Lokahi bath.

Lokahi’s new collection, Ohana Hana, takes a deeper dive into the tropical wonders of Hawaii, all featuring hand-drawn designs inspired by the island. Teen Magazine had the chance to chat with Lokahi Swimwear founder and designer Emily Neal about Ohana Hana, her designs, her inspirations and more.

photo by Amber Mozo

“Lōkahi is the Hawaiian word for unity, oneness, and harmony.

Lō – means to get. Kahi – is the shortened version of ‘ekahi, which is number one. By breaking down the meaning of the word, we learn that lōkahi means to obtain unity, unity and harmony.”

The trip

Tell us about your journey in creating Lokahi swimwear! What was your vision for the brand and how did the creation go?

“What started as a passion for designing Aloha prints in 2016, morphed into Lokahi Swimwear’s first collection in 2017. Inspired by the beauty and love we have for the Hawaiian Islands, the desire to imagining tropical Aloha prints on a swimwear that could be surfed is what started this incredible journey and is still the main driving force behind the brand today,” says Emily.

photo by Nick Cribbs

“Our love for exotic flowers, vibrant colors and the feeling of Aloha felt on the Hawaiian Islands, is what we strive to embody in every collection. We always strive for the perfect balance of fashion, function and what feels good in our community, for our community. When we join our community in the surf, and see them smiling, catching the waves while wearing our bathing suits, it’s a feeling of pure happiness. It really is the most incredible feeling.”

The Ohana Hana Collection

The new collection, Ohana Hana, features hand-drawn patterns. What are the inspirations behind each of the prints?

“There are four prints in our new collection, Ohana Hana,” Emily tells us, and also shares with us the meanings and inspirations behind each print:

  • Leo – Inspired by our love of animal print with a slice of Aloha.
  • Pua – Inspired by our own take on vintage Hawaii.
  • Hana – Inspired by the road to Hana and all of its exotic beauty.
  • Ditsy Floral – Inspired by our love of classic black with a Hawaiian twist.

photo by Amber Mozo

“Our 2021 collection is inspired by warm nights, fiery skies, scorched skin, coconuts under palm trees, dancing in the waves, showers under the stars, surfing with the moon, long days at the beach and hello we all feel like we live our lives on these beautiful islands,” says Emily.

In five words

If you could describe Lokahi swimwear in five words, what would they be?

“Creative, positive, ethical, empowering, loving,” says Emily.

Sustainability and love for our planet

Lokahi Swimwear mentions sustainability and the brand’s efforts to show as much love to the planet as possible. Could you tell us more about this?

“We work closely and have a great relationship with our family makers in Bali and ensure that our costumes are ethically produced, as well as not mass-produced,” Emily tells us, “We are proud to be a small family business and believe in slow fashion. Every year we create a new collection and new ALOHA prints.”

photo by Amber Mozo

On that note, it really is even more special to know that the costume you have is truly one of a kind with its exclusivity. “We work in small quantities to ensure that our brand remains exclusive and unique. We do not bring back prints in later collections, so once the collection is gone, it is gone! Each costume in each print is limited, unique and one of a kind.”

“Our goal is to be as sustainable as possible,” shares Emily, “Every order is shipped plastic-free using recycled paper and biodegradable stickers. always strive to be better for the planet and its well-being. Our goal is to create as little footprint as possible on our planet.

“Giving back to the Hawaiian community is very important to us, so as we grow, we plan to donate to Hawai’i-based conservation organizations as well as some local community organizations.”

photo of Sea Atoigue-Concepcion

In the future

Where do you hope to see the brand in the future – in five years, ten years?

“We will always be creating new prints and styles. We will be introducing garments into our 2022 collection,” Emily tells us, “We want to continue on the path of growing international presence. We will continue to work for sustainability in every way. “

“We look forward to growing our Lokahi Swimwear team and being able to create jobs for the local community.”

photo by Amber Mozo

The Akoi in Pua

The Akoi is one of the one-piece swimsuit styles that features deep cuts and lace-up ties; it pays close attention to detail while emphasizing comfort.

Coming in the vivid tropical print of the Pua, the Akoi is a stunning piece that captures bright island vibes.

Buy the Akoi One Piece in Pua here.

This slightly high-cut one-piece features a deep, rounded neckline, and along the sides of the waist are lace-up ties that end in a ribbon on either side of the hip. The back of the Akoi is a scooped back with plenty of room for the sun and meets at the tie at the sides.

It’s a costume that isn’t minimalist but not complicated, and a costume that has vintage inspirations but is still playful. The flattering style of the suit is absolutely a look, and its uniqueness makes it truly special.

A design like this requires great attention to detail, and the Pua print brings the vision of this suit to life. The Pua’s bold coral red with patterned white Hawaiian flowers mixes vintage reminiscence with a clash of modernity.

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One of the costume’s most delicious surprises was its absolutely smooth fabric. This swimsuit is completely smooth – almost like a buttery feel – and I’m impressed that it’s seamless and material free.

Made with a blend of Italian fabric with polyester and lycra, the fabric is truly unlike any other swimsuit I have ever seen. This might be the smoothest swimsuit I have ever felt!

Because it is simply a high quality fabric with no additional materials running through it, the Akoi in Pua is completely comfortable and allows for wild and fun adventures at the beach.

The Akoi in Pua is designed in Hawaii and ethically made with love in Bali. Truly taking the love for tropical daydreams and the love for our planet behind the scenes, if there’s one fun printed swimsuit that’s perfect to pack for a trip to the beach, it’s this one!

The Lea Top in Pua

The Lea top is a crop top style with a tie that gives a casual and effortless look.

The spaghetti strap bandeau top makes the crop top versatile and casual, and the ties at the back add a whimsical touch to the overall design.

Shop the Lea in Pua top here.

This straight cut bandeau top offers more coverage because it is longer in width. The top is basically a long strip of the smoothest material that ends in a tie that almost looks like a wrap top.

The back can be easily tied using your preferred fastening method to secure the top. There’s something about the tied back that makes it feel like the perfect summer look.

Because the Lea top is like a crop top, it’s the perfect piece to pair with your favorite cover-up or sarong to create a complete look you can wear anywhere at the beach.

The Lea top is available in the Pua print, identical to the Akoi above; the red and white floral combination looks like an authentic retro Hawaiian vacation – or even more like a vintage vacation.

This swimsuit top is also seamless and hardware free which makes it so comfortable to wear. It also pays to preserve the high quality of the costume so that the seams and hardware can never turn it into an old, wrinkled and unusable bathing suit.

I’m really not exaggerating when it comes to the absolutely gorgeous fabric of this swimsuit. The smoothest, most untextured and coolest to the touch fabric, the Lea Top is made from the same material as the Akoi.

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I just love how it stays simplistic, versatile and sporty on the front, but has the cutest tie detail on the back.

The Lea top is available in other prints – Leo, Hana and Ditsy Floral. To see all of Lokahi’s tops, click here.

The Charlie Bottom in Pua

The bottom perfectly matched with your favorite Pua top, the high waist and high cut of the bottom Charlie emphasize the legs.

Buy the Charlie Bottom in Pua here.

This high leg stocking sits much higher on the waist and has a high cut through the leg. The back is pretty much full coverage, neither too cheeky nor too covered either.

I love that the Charlie bottom keeps the bottom neither too much nor too little in every aspect, and that staying comfortable and supported during swimming activities is his top priority.

The bottoms fit snugly and provide perfect support for all the fun activities on the beach.

Presented in the bright coral red and white floral print, the Charlie bottom in the Pua print offers the perfect matching bottom with your favorite Pua swimsuit tops.

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Completed with this Charlie Bottom in Pua, your retro summer vacation look with the Hawaiian-inspired tropical flowers is simply stunning.

In addition, the fabric of this stocking is seamless and hardware-free. I love that it’s really just the smooth fabric, and nothing else!

Follow Lokahi

Be sure to follow Lokahi on Instagram @lokahiswimwear and shop their new Ohana Hana collection for the perfect tropical getaway!

photo by Amber Mozo