There is something rewarding and beautiful when you can create something using natural resources. When the models graced the runway wearing these vibrant, green skirts, you could see the energy and love that went in to making them. We wanted to share the experience of creating these beautiful skirts.
The “ALIVE” theme makes things a little difficult because most plants and flowers have a short lifespan. We couldn’t begin picking the kukui leaves until two days before the event. Celina and I met in Iao Valley at 7:00 a.m., and began collecting. Kukui nut leaves of all shapes, sizes and color line the famous road to the needle. When picking these leaves, your intent and energy needs to be positive and grateful. We scaled small cliffs, climbed on truck rooftops, and maneuvered through barbed wire fences.
Two hours later, we carried our two, hefty trash bags down to the river. The sun was shining and the water was flowing. We began washing every leaf, cleaning it with the most precious thing in life, water. Now it was time to create the skirts. The kukui nut stems are hard, so each stem had to be softened. One by one we massaged and twisted. Next, each leaf was tied on to the rope and then knotted three times.
Our wonderful friends took the time to help us complete the seven skirts. Each skirt took about 700 leaves. Our hands were raw and our nails were chipped. Ashley’s refrigerator looked more like a floral shop. No food, just leaves. She had to constantly spray them with water so they didn’t dry out. We were relieved when Friday came and they were “alive.”
The hours put in for just one minute down the runway was worth it. We got to hang out in the water, spend time with friends, and create something using the life around us. That experience is what makes us grateful to be ALIVE.