Hamakua State of Mind

Fashion Collaboration with designer Rumi Murakami

We created a Fall 2017 menswear and womenswear collection inspired by the question "What does Fall in Hawai'i look like?" Our designs were inspired by the Hamakua coast of Hawai`i Island–lush landscapes, wide vistas and historic Japanese and Hawaiian farming communities. My textile designs used elements of nature; native Hawaiian plants from the area, local produce (Hamakua is famous for their mushrooms) and traditional Japanese folk textiles. Rumi's designs expressed a relaxed, upcountry lifestyle with billowy, modest silhouettes.

Rich green hills against the ocean, big views, isolation, slowness, freedom. Grounded in earthy independence, plantation histories, Japanese simplicity and humble beginnings. Hamakua evokes these feelings and images, a place in Hawaiʻi that receives 130 inches of rainfall per year on the Big Island’s northeast coast. The collection represents an interpretation of what Fall in Hawaii means, evoking cooler weather, muddy shoes, wet grass, running to the grocery store on a rainy Saturday morning wearing a hoodie over yoga pants. Hamakua is chilly nights, damp wilderness, meandering roads, and farming as a way of life. An escape from the noise of modern life to connect with the rhythms of nature. Get your hands dirty and wander in the garden. 

“I gave myself more freedom to come up with different shapes and uses. It’s not about leisure but action, like gardening and farming. It’s way more experimental, yet wearable and functional.” – Rumi Murakami 

“I dreamt of large-scale bold prints influenced by traditional kimono textiles but with Big Island flavor. As I spent time on the island traversing it’s curves, I wanted to create art respecting the lands of Hamakua. I researched the agricultural history of Hamakua and the upland forests to find plants specific to this place (like Hamakua mushrooms and ʻōhiʻa) which ended up being motifs in the patterns.” – Laurie Sumiye 

Collection is available online at www.rumimurakami.com 

HAMAKUA STATE OF MIND is a collaboration by clothing designer Rumi Murakami and artist Laurie Sumiye. Laurie created textiles inspired by the wild and agrarian landscapes of Hamakua, and Rumi envisioned a collection embracing the easy serenity of Big Island upcountry living combined with sophisticated silhouettes and modern Hawaiian-Japanese style. 

Video by  Eat Cake Gallery. Presentation by Cassie Louie. Music by Taimane Gardner.


  • Honolulu Magazine "Rumi Murakami’s Dreamy New Design Collab is a Match Made in Hāmākua." Feb 21, 2018 
  • Design Talk Hawaii radio show with Matt Gilbertson. Oct 27, 2017 
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