Our Story


This story is a long one, but it begins in the middle of the Pacific Ocean on a small archipelago thousands of miles from the nearest major land mass.

I was born and raised in the town of Waimānalo on O'ahu's southeast shore where each morning included a view of volcanic offshore islands and coral reefs. Growing up on an island has defined me just as much as my Hawaiian culture. All islanders are conscious of their limited space and resources, and are inevitably intertwined with the natural world. Children spend all their time outdoors playing in the yard, swimming at the beach, and climbing tutu's (granny's) plumeria tree. It's common to spend the entire day in a bikini (we always carry one just in case we feel like going for a dip) and we're never turned away at a store if we're in our swimwear. The ocean is a way of life. In Hawai'i, you can't really go anywhere without seeing the ocean or mountains and we often forget that this is a luxury most people don't have.

Since I grew up on the coast, just a short walk from Kaiona Beach Park, I would see the effects humans had on the ocean firsthand. While the occasional buoy, glass ball, or fishing net would wash up, certain tides would bring in thousands of microplastics that would litter the beach.

This shaped my mindset and I knew I wanted to create a brand that put sustainability first, but also focused on function, since I spent so many hours in my bikini and quickly realized that not many of them were up to the task. While recycled fabric is not the answer to our global plastic crisis (eliminating plastic is), I hope to spread awareness to the issue with swimsuits that are made by ocean people for ocean people.

Xx,
Kalena

Girl with surfboard wearing kaiona swimwear surf suit