Hilo Designers to Help Create Hawaiian Airlines Livery

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HA-Uniforms-DesignersHawaiian Airlines has enlisted Hilo-based design studio Sig Zane Kaiao to join a a fashion collective to help create the airline’s first new uniform since 2008.

Starting this month, Sig Zane Kaiao and Japanese design consultants Tetsu Nishiyama and Mikiko Nishiyama of the DESCENDANT label will collaborate on uniforms for more than 5,000 employees across all of Hawaiian’s work groups, including airport customer service, cabin service, flight division (pilots), in-flight (flight attendants), line service, maintenance, ramp and supply.

“As Hawaiian has grown and broadened its network, we’ve stayed rooted in the values of Hawai‘i that make us strong,” said Avi Mannis, senior vice president of marketing for Hawaiian Airlines. “Our new uniform will remain connected to our culture and at the same time present a bold, forward-looking sense of style reflecting the global, cosmopolitan cities we serve.”

Along with a committee of 40 Hawaiian employees, this design hui (or collective) will participate in the uniform project, which includes a rigorous review of each garment’s functional requirements.


“While each of our designers is renowned in their own realm of fashion, the really exciting part of this process comes from the dynamic collaboration and exchange of ideas,” added Mannis. “We want every employee, from the hangar to the cockpit, to feel a sense of pride when they wear their uniform. We’re thrilled to see what this design hui brings to life for our employees.”

Sig Zane Kaiao is the design studio of legendary Hawai‘i artist and textile designer Sig Zane. Led by Kūha‘o Zane, each design reveals a deep understanding and strong connection to traditional Hawaiian culture. The studio created the striking livery adorning Hawaiian’s ‘Ohana by Hawaiian aircraft with a traditional kapa pattern symbolizing ancestry, family and transportation.

“We’re honored to partner with Hawaiian Airlines for this momentous project,” said Kūha’o. “Hawaiian is an iconic local brand with a rich history, and we want to create a truly unique and timeless design. Working firsthand with the people who wear these uniforms every day will help us achieve our goal and bring the design story to life.”


Husband and wife design duo Tetsu Nishiyama and Mikiko Nishiyama are standouts in Tokyo’sbustling creative scene. Their minimalist and structured approach merged with Sig Zane’s bold graphical designs represent the perfect marriage of East and West.

“I was very touched by how proud island residents are of Hawaiian Airlines and its history,” said Tetsu. “It’s one of the main reasons that I decided to join this project.”

“I believe there are strong similarities between Hawaiian and Japanese cultures—both are extremely dedicated to caring for their people and land,” Mikiko said. “Tetsu and I are pleased to partner with Hawaiian Airlines and work together as ‘ohana toward the same goal.”


Hawaiian Airlines has entrusted industry leader Affinity Apparel to develop and manufacture the uniforms, which are set to launch in late 2017.

Additional information is available at

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