send to printer

Hawaii Shopping

Anne Namba
324 Kamani Street
Honolulu , Hawaii
Tel: 808 589 1135

Hawaiian-born Namba has designed for the costume department of Radio City Music Hall, lived in exotic locales like Thailand and Iran, and traveled extensively in Japan. Now back in Honolulu, she brings her disparate influences together in her clothing designs: dramatic bustiers, floaty tunics, and body-skimming gowns stitched from silky, kimono-print fabrics.

Fabric Mart
55 Kaahumanu Avenue
Kahului , Hawaii
Tel: 808 871 5770

If after a few days in Maui hotel rooms you start coveting tropical print pillowcases, curtains, or tablecloths, this is the place to find your new favorite fabrics. You can choose from bolts and bolts of lovely Hawaiian prints (even vintage bark cloth). Other locations are located throughout the islands.

First Fridays
Honolulu , Hawaii

From 5 to 10 p.m. on the first Friday of each month, Chinatown (which extends east-west from River Street to Richard Street and north-south between Beretania and King streets) turns into an arty street party. Participating stores, galleries, performance spaces, restaurants, and bars literally leave their doors wide open for throngs of people who come to schmooze, socialize, see and be seen—and, of course, shop. Crowds spill out onto the streets and make the rounds, sipping free wine and scouting for designer home decor at Sourcing Asia and INTO, "recycled art by unknown talents" at Daspace on Smith Street, and "outsider art" at the Got Art? gallery on Nuuanu Avenue. Those wanting to buy contemporary but still-affordable Hawaiian artworks should stop by the Louis Pohl Gallery, and wine collectors shouldn't miss the HASR Wine Co., a funky little shop run by enthusiastic wine nerds with some surprising selections (perfect for BYOB meals in the 'hood).

1133 Bethel Street
Tel: 808 585 8505

40 N. Hotel Street
Tel: 808 536 2211

1111 Nuuanu Avenue
Tel: 808 521 1812

31 N. Pauahi Street
Tel: 808 535 9463

Forever Kauai
8171 Kekaha Road
Kekaha , Hawaii
Tel: 808 337 2888

A Niihau shell lei—lustrous strands of delicate shells, no bigger than a baby's fingernail, plucked from the sands of the privately owned island of Niihau—can sell for upward of $10,000. Why are they so expensive? A single lei-maker would need over five years to collect enough shells of the same shape and color to make a classic five-strand lei. While families do work together to speed things up, the process is still painstaking. State law mandates that only leis made out of 80 percent Niihau shells can be called Niihau shell leis, but cheap knockoffs abound, and even authentic Niihau leis vary in quality. The only way to be sure to get what you're paying for is to buy from a reputable seller, like Forever Kauai, located in Kekaha on the west coast of Kauai. The shop is modest and stuffed with cheap matching Hawaiian shirts and muumuus, but the leis, varying in color from gray blue to hot pink, are exquisite. You can start with a simple $50 pair of earrings or a $250 single-strand choker, or go whole hog for a multistrand piece sure to become a family heirloom.—Cathay Che

Open daily 9 am to 5 pm.

Hawaiian Island Creations Outlet
590 Farrington Highway
Kapolei , Hawaii
Tel: 808 674 4001

This made-in-Hawaii brand of surfboards, clothing, and surf accessories has been around since 1972, but it's still nearly impossible to find (outside of Oahu HIC boutiques). The exclusivity means the brand still has cachet, and the boards are treated like trophies by those who own them. For those on a budget, this new HIC outlet way out in Kapolei offers deep discounts on previous seasons' models. Though it was opened for locals, there's nothing to stop the adventurous visitor from seeking it out, as well.

Island Glassworks
171A Hamakua Drive
Kailua , Hawaii
Tel: 808 263 4527

Owner and artist in residence Geoff Lee uses traditional Italian techniques at his hot and cold glassmaking facility. The results, for sale in the attached shop, include lovely sake sets, vases, and decorative pieces adorned with abstract nature motifs. Though the heavily tattooed Lee studied in Washington State with renowned glass artist Benjamin Moore, he brings his own Hawaiian punk-rock sensibility to his bold designs.

Closed Thursdays and Sundays.


If you're looking for a significant keepsake from Hawaii, one that won't lose its value and could possibly become an heirloom, consider investing in some traditional Hawaiian adornments.

The shiny gold nameplate necklaces, rings, and bracelets with ornate enamel lettering that you see on the locals may look like hip-hop bling, but they have their roots in 19th-century England. Known as Hawaiian Heritage Jewelry, the style became fashionable in the islands after the last reigning monarch, Queen Liliuokalani, received a bracelet like this from Queen Victoria—then began giving away similar pieces herself. The classic look—yellow gold with black enamel lettering—was originally reserved for periods of mourning. Now, it's ubiquitous, but you can also opt for a variation on the style in platinum or white, pink, or green gold and have your name emblazoned in pink, white, blue, or green enamel lettering. If you don't have a Hawaiian name, use the old Missionary trick of translating your given name into Hawaiian. But you might just want to default to the classic "Kuuipo," meaning "sweetheart." Prices range from $150 upward, and sources include several well-known jewelry stores: Try Na Hoku (3750 Wailea Alanui; 808-891-8040; Pawn shops are also good places to look, if you don't mind a secondhand piece.

Even more collectable are Niihau shell leis, made of microsize shells (fewer than 5 millimeters across) found on the completely isolated, privately owned island of Niihau. A multistrand lei can cost upward of $10,000, but buyers should keep in mind that this sort of piece takes three to five years to painstakingly complete by hand; what's more, the leis are critical to the survival of Niihau's 160 inhabitants, and the amount of quality shells washing ashore is dwindling due to changes in climate and ocean conditions. Kahelelani shells—the only ones gemologists will grade and appraise for insurance purposes—are the most prized and range in color from soft pink to deep brown. Authenticity is an issue, but you can buy with confidence from reputable galleries like Maui Hands (612 Front St., Lahaina; 808-667-9898;

Kamaka Ukuleles
550 South St.
Honolulu , Hawaii
Tel: 808 531 3165

Widely considered to be the best, these ukuleles have been made in Hawaii since 1916. You'll find them for sale everywhere, but coming to this factory location has added benefits. First, it's fun to take the free tour of the premises (10:30 a.m. Tuesday through Friday) and get schooled in the instrument's colorful history. Second, you can test out all nine different varieties of uke and even order one, if you like; your instrument will be shipped to you about a month later. Third, you'll get a ten percent discount on prices, which start at $600.

Lilikoi Beauty
18 Baldwin Avenue
Paia , Hawaii
Tel: 808 579 6055

This beauty-junkie outpost in Paia is a good place to pick up locally produced products. Look for volcano-scented bath salts (very masculine) from the Big Island's Ola Hawaii, or spritzes and lotions from Ali'i Kula Lavender, scented with the 45 varieties of lavender the company grows on the slopes of Haleakala. The shop also stocks tropics-inspired items such as Pure Fiji's eco-friendly bath and body oils and Kai's fragrances, containing the essences of gardenia and pikake (a small, white, native flower). Lilikoi can be perfect for items that are hard to get in Hawaii (like three-wick Voluspa candles in decorative tins), which come in handy if you need a hostess gift for a local.

Maggie Coulombe
505 Front Street
Lahaina , Hawaii
Tel: 808 662 0696

Over in Lahaina, the Korean–Canadian Coulombe is starting quite a buzz with her little atelier of Versace-like print pareos and slinky cocktail dresses. Her clients include Paris Hilton, Teri Hatcher, and Halle Berry (did we mention that Maui is crawling with celebrities?). She also makes sexy, simple jewelry from Tahitian pearls that come in amazing hues ranging from chocolate to teal blue. Though Coulombe herself is warm and totally unpretentious, it's amusing to find a boutique with full-fashion attitude 40 feet from the ocean.

Malie Boutique
2-2560 Kaumualii Highway
Kalaheo , Hawaii
Tel: 808 332 6220

Malie's fruit, flower, and vine essences—gathered from the Garden Isle's rain forests and rich volcanic soil—are an all-natural way to bring the scents of the islands home with you. This boutique's star item is the Kokee room spray (or, if you prefer, reed diffuser) that perfectly captures the green scent of the native Hawaiian maile vine. Liquid hand soaps and lotions make good souvenirs if you're checking bags; otherwise, opt for an eco- and TSA-friendly soy candle. There are also spa kits and cases of Kona Red, an antioxidant elixir made of coffee berry skins (Hawaii's answer to açaí) that you can ship home. Prices vary, but the tab will likely be less than a treatment at the Grand Hyatt Spa, which uses Malie products.—Cathay Che

Open Mondays through Fridays 9 am to 4 pm.

Malie Organics
The Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center
2259 Kalakaua Avenue
Waikiki , Hawaii
Tel: 808 922 2216

Malie's fruit, flower, and vine essences—gathered from Kauai's rain forests and rich volcanic soil—have arrived in Waikiki (a tad more convenient than the Kauai store in Kalaheo!) at this boutique in the Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center. If you're not already a fan from stumbling upon these all-natural, organic scents at Hawaii's leading spas, here's your chance for a one-stop immersion. While the Kokee fragrance (the unisex scent of the Hawaiian maile vine) is still a favorite, the Orchid scent is so pretty, bright, and subtle that it's a guaranteed crowd-pleaser for any of your female friends or relatives back home. Candles and body creams are easy to pack, but reed diffusers, liquid soaps, and room sprays are trickier—the good news is that you can have your entire order shipped home from the store.—Cathay Che

Open daily 9 am to 9 pm.

Maui Swap Meet
At the Maui Community College
310 Kaahumanu Avenue
Kahului , Hawaii
Tel: 808 877 3100

Every Saturday from 7 am to 1 pm, local vendors set up shop on the grounds of the Maui Community College, across the street from the Queen Kaahumanu Mall. The front stalls (fruit preserves, macadamia nuts, coffee, handicrafts, fresh produce) are in orderly formation, but wander to the back and there are people with trunks of junk that seem to have just exploded wherever they could lay a tarp. It's a good place to get souvenirs and gifts (look out for the guy with the carved wood-frame mirrors), you might even find a vintage Maui T-shirt from the '80s.

7 N. Market Street
Wailuku , Hawaii
Tel: 808 249 0215

MauiThing combines two things you don't often find on the island: fashion and attitude. The energy here isn't angry—it's empowered by clean living and the belief that life on Maui can't be beat. The boutique in Wailuku sells duds that put a fun twist on the Maui uniform of T-shirts and sundresses, with funky designs and socially and environmentally conscious messages. With nary an item over $40 (average tees are about $20), this is a good spot to pick up a unique memento—or a new wardrobe if your airline loses your luggage.

Open Mondays through Fridays 10 am to 6 pm, Saturdays 10 am to 4 pm.

Muumuu Heaven
767 Kailua Road
Kailua , Hawaii
Tel: 808 263 3366

Where do vintage Hawaiian muumuus, those long dresses in brightly colored prints, go after they become frayed? An increasing number are being reincarnated as funky sundresses and beach bags at this Kailua boutique. Men aren't left out either—Muumuu Heaven customizes bamboo tees and vintage polo shirts with a strip of the colorful fabric. Old Hawaiian shirts also get a second life here as throw pillows, complete with buttons and pockets. Eco-minded shoppers will appreciate that everything for sale (except the imported bamboo tees) is sourced from the islands, and even the store's fixtures and shopping bags are recycled. Custom orders for a particular color palette, or using your own muumuu, are stitched up in about two weeks and available by mail order.

Mondays through Saturdays 10 am to 6 pm, Sundays 11 am to 4 pm.

Native Books/Na Mea Hawaii
Ward Warehouse
1050 Ala Moana Blvd.
Honolulu , Hawaii
Tel: 800 887 7751

The official store for Na Mea Hawaii, an organization dedicated to sharing Hawaiian culture, language, and traditions. The stock here ranges from academic books about language, history, music, hula, massage, meditation, even navigating by the stars, to fun titles on lighter subjects like how to throw a luau, how to make tropical cocktails, and how to speak pidgin English. There's a good selection of children's books, too, illustrating basic Hawaiian values—taking care of the land, respecting nature, and the ocean, thinking about the consequences of your actions, and so on.

Puka Puka
43 Hana Highway
Paia , Hawaii
Tel: 808 579 3080

Housed in a historic plantation right as you drive into Paia Town, Puka Puka is a white-walled boutique, art gallery, and gathering place for locals looking to "talk story." Rare and vintage surfing and Polynesian-themed books, Maui-made T-shirts (the uniform in Hawaii), limited-edition high-top sneakers made with African batik fabric, and clothing from Maison Martin Margiela and Hussein Chalayan create what could be best described as Maui's answer to Paris's Colette. The upstairs is a more formal gallery with amazing ocean views and biannual Hawaii-centric exhibitions, such as retrospectives on artists from Maui's Rainbow Bridge movement in the '60s and '70s.—Cathay Che

Open Mondays through Saturdays 11 am to 6 pm.

Shirokiya at Ala Moana Shopping Center
1450 Ala Moana Blvd.
Honolulu , Hawaii
Tel: 808 973 9111

Popping into this Japanese department store is like taking a quick trip to Tokyo. You'll find Japanese electronics, clothing, toys (including a good selection of Hello Kitty items), kitchen gadgets, housewares, and—best of all—snacks. While the first floor is a calm, ordered world, upstairs resembles an open market, with vendors shouting out what they have for sale as you pass by. Delicious Japanese treats (such as mochi, musubi, soba, and green-tea ice cream) are available either for takeout or, if you can find a place to sit, to eat at the tables in the atrium.

Tamara Catz
83 Hana Highway
Paia , Hawaii
Tel: 808 579 9184

She's been dubbed the Catherine Malandrino of Maui, though Catz is originally from Argentina, not France. She met her champion-windsurfer husband, Francisco Goya, on a visit to the island a decade ago, and it's now their home and the headquarters for her rich-hippie women's line (which sells in trendy boutiques like Madison in Los Angeles and Big Drop in New York). Definitely targeted at the young and the thin, these romantic pieces are exactly right for tropical living.

Xcel Wetsuits
66-590 Kamehameha Highway
Haleiwa , Hawaii
Tel: 808 637 6239

Founded in 1982 on the North Shore, Xcel still manufactures and sells standard and custom-fit wet suits for surfing and diving. There's also a good selection of vests and jerseys for other water sports (wakeboarding, spearfishing, waterskiing), rash guards (Lycra shirts to wear in the water), and adorable onesies for babies made with SPF 50 fabric.

Information may have changed since the date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.