ESSENTIALS

Lei - - Table Of Contents - TEXT BY Sonny Ganaden IM­AGE BY John Hook

Ariyaphon Southiphong's line, Andy South, con­tin­ues to in­tro­duce beau­ti­ful menswear and wom­enswear in Hawai‘i, and soon, around the world.

Back to work at her ate­lier in the heart of ur­ban Honolulu, Ariyaphon Southiphong (Ari, to her friends) is re­turn­ing from fash­ion week in El Paseo, Cal­i­for­nia, where she was given a stand­ing ova­tion for her spring and sum­mer col­lec­tions. “The way it’s built out is the clos­est thing I’ve seen to New York Fash­ion Week,” she says. “We’re do­ing well at Neiman Mar­cus and our clien­tele re­mains con­sis­tent in Hawai‘i, but now it’s time to pick up more work, other mar­kets.”

It’s hard to imag­ine Ari work­ing any harder. Af­ter be­com­ing a house­hold name as a top con­tes­tant on Pro­ject Run­way, re­cently com­pet­ing on the show’s All Stars sea­son, cre­at­ing her own fash­ion house, and chang­ing gen­ders, Ari has rarely stopped to ap­pre­ci­ate the whirl­wind of in­flu­ence she has cre­ated in Honolulu’s bur­geon­ing fash­ion scene. With nearly a dozen full-time em­ploy­ees, at­ten­dants, and stu­dents, the Andy South ate­lier has grown as a pro­duc­tion house, man­u­fac­tur­ing a range of lo­cal fash­ion from Sig Zane De­signs alo­hawear to the Pu­na­hou School march­ing band uni­forms. In 2013, Ari be­gan pro­duc­ing menswear for her Andy South brand. Fea­tur­ing hand­somely tailored shirts with twin pock­ets and linen blends, the line is a nod to the un-tucked for­mal­ity pop­u­lar in the tem­po­ral trop­ics, a wor­thy suc­ces­sor to the Reyn Spooner and Al­fred Sha­heen lines now con­sid­ered clas­sic Hawai­iana. For the pool, a swimwear line is in the works. “Of course it will be skimpy, tight, and tailored,” she says with a laugh.

A few years into her suc­cess, Ari re­mains dili­gent, wary of the ways fash­ion can chew up in­di­vid­u­als. “Es­pe­cially if it’s a lux­ury brand, mo’ money mo’ prob­lems,” she says of her pro­fes­sion. “The crit­i­cisms of peo­ple in the in­dus­try are real, about how peo­ple are fake, be­cause re­ally folks are chas­ing a fan­tasy. … It’s tough to pre­tend to main­tain a life­style you don’t have.” Ari re­mains the type that prefers a bru­tal truth over a con­ve­nient fan­tasy, a trait her cus­tomers, fans, and col­leagues have come to value. In truth, her clothes are beau­ti­ful.

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