Out of a paper bag and the back of a truck, Kealopiko was founded in 2006. It startedout as three friends (Ane Bakutis, Jamie Makasobe and Hina Kneubuhl) with a vision to make t-shirts that broke the traditional mold of how Hawaiʻi has been portrayed for so long. We felt that what is truly and uniquely Hawaiian deserved to be the focus of designs transferred to clothing: our plants and animals, our language and practices, our aliʻi (royalty) and kūpuna (elders and ancestors), and our moʻolelo (stories and history) as the people of Hawaiʻi. We also had the audacious assumption that people were hungry for this kind of fashion.
We chose the name Kealopiko (ke alopiko) because we loved the idea of that sweet, fat, choicest part of the fish - the belly. This part being so highly craved and relished speaks to the connection our kūpuna had to the ocean, their love of food, and their taste for the finer things in life. The piko (umbilicus, center, point of connection) on your alo (front of your body) connects you to your loved ones and to the present moment - another interpretation of the name we enjoy.
We went from learning to screen print in small local workshops, to full-scale production in modern facilities. Moving some of our production to California has allowed us to keep up with demand and reduce our footprint. This includes our Kahikikū line, which allows us to offer more colors and styles of our most sought after aloha prints. Our ALL Aloha line, however, is completely produced in Kalamaʻula, where Kealopiko staff lovingly hand-dye and print the various fabrics that become your dresses, aloha shirts, bags, and custom pieces.
As we continue to grow, we strive to stay at the leading edge of fashion without compromising our vision. We have enjoyed every step in our journey and have deep mahalo (appreciation) for all of our supporters. It is you we design for. We want to provide you with clothing you love. If you have ideas or comments on our products or anything else, please contact us.
I ka piko nō ʻoe lihaliha - Eat of the belly and you will be satisfied!