The work of three Tufuga close Hawaii’s first INKED Island Fashion Show

Photo Credit: 
Iris Domingo/IRIS Images
Dress by SINA. Model: Tian Savusa.

Faletuiga malu models were Moana Achica-Manuo, INKED Co-Director Sina Thomsen and Valana Manuma. Soga’imiti who hit the INKED stage were: Vili Pa’ama, Armand Abero, Ira Uiagalelei, Mikaele Oloa, Pogi Tevaga and Ron Tominiko. Mitamitaga O Samoa dancers performed a special number to “O le tatau.” Manuo, Hawaii born, closed the fashion show portion with a taualuga performed to Felise Mikaele’s “E lo’u loto.”

Tuiga, six, made especially for the INKED closing were designed and crafted by Faletuiga designer Mark Magallanes, a musician, drummer and costume designer at Germaine’s Luau. The tuiga is the ceremonial Samoan headdress that has become iconic in representing Samoa and Samoan culture abroad. Manuo, who has taught hundreds of children and adults how to dance Samoan, Tongan, Tahitian, Hawaiian and Maori, through her work as a YMCA A+ Afterschool site director and M.O.S. instructor, performed the taualuga with a tuiga that featured two-feet lave (sticks).

“The INKED Island Fashion Show was a great experience. We made friends and got to show the arts of Samoa, our dress, our tattoos, our dancing, our music, our culture,” Manuo said. “I love a being a young Samoan woman and it gave me great pride to represent Samoa in INKED. The tatau and malu are not ordinary tattoos and because of the show’s focus on tattoos, we were able to showcase our work and the work of Samoa’s tufuga in a performance that was well received."

Visiting cruise ship the MS Oosterdam and a lighted Aloha Tower provided fabulous backgrounds for INKED. Among the audience were Oosterdam passengers who stayed glued to their windows to watch the show from the moored ship.

“Ronnie asked for island fashion and tattoos,” said Thomsen, INKED Co-Director whose clothing line utilizes her first name. “I did what I could to deliver."

And deliver she did. Hawaii’s fashion aficionado missed out big time on Cou(Toa), as in couture, by Sina who has ties to Alamagoto and Lepea. Couture, or, haute couture, is a French term that refers to the creation of exclusive custom-fitted clothing. Each piece was cut and fit especially for each Sina model and the designer owes her INKED collection to “runway magic.”

Thomsen is an award winning designer who attended fashion school at Honolulu Community College, competed in and won the Design Star contest hosted by Island Edge that was located at the Ala Moana Shopping Center. As part of the win, Island Edge was to carry the Sina line but the retail store closed up shop several months after its 2010 grand opening, said Sina.

Formal wear by Sina is featured in the 2011 Fall/Winter issue of Hawaii Bride & Groom Magazine.

Music from several Samoan artists were utilized during INKED: Zen “Zhen” Uigaese (California); JBOOG (California); Tama O le Mua’au (Pava’ia’i, American Samoa); Vaniah Toloa (Samoa); Ras Mas (Manu’a Islands) and Felise Mikaele (Samoa).