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Article: Meet Kaohao, Tai Swim's Vintage Aloha Swimwear Print

Meet Kaohao, Tai Swim's Vintage Aloha Swimwear Print

Meet Kaohao, Tai Swim's Vintage Aloha Swimwear Print

Meet Kaʻōhao, Tai Swim's Vintage Aloha Swimwear Print

At Tai Swim Co., we're thrilled to unveil our latest bikini pattern, Kaʻōhao.

Kaʻōhao, the original name for the area often mistakenly called Lanikai, is renowned for its breathtaking beach on the east side of Oahu. As you drive the loop of Lanikai on Aalapapa and Mokulua Drive, it's easy to notice the transformation from a quaint beach community to a neighborhood lined with multi-million dollar houses. This area reflects the broader, often challenging history of the Hawaiian Islands. While its natural beauty is undeniable, the renaming to Lanikai, environmental degradation due to development, and the impacts of military activity, fishing, and tourism have left their mark. Despite these challenges, Kaʻōhao retains its magical presence. Through this print, we aim to honor the original Hawaiian name and highlight the resilience and enduring beauty of this special place.

Print Style Inspiration

Our Kaʻōhao pattern draws inspiration from vintage aloha shirts and the muted tones of Japanese woodblock prints that made these shirts iconic. The best aloha shirts always tell a story, and with this print, we aspire to share the tale of the waters in front of Kaʻōhao. Each element encapsulates the otherworldly feeling we experience every time we are fortunate enough to spend time there.

Elements of the Print

Nā Mokulua
Standing like guardians of the ocean, the Twin Islands, or Nā Mokulua, are a quintessential part of Kaʻōhao. These seabird sanctuaries hold a special place in our hearts, reminding us of countless days spent paddling and surfing around these islands.

ʻĀ (Red-Footed Booby)
The ʻĀ, or Red-Footed Booby, is a common sight in Kailua Bay. The white morph variation, with its light blue beak, gracefully skims the water's surface in search of fish, adding to the area's vibrant ecosystem. There’s a special easter egg hidden in some of our suits: one of the flying Red-Footed Boobies is pink in color. Check out your suit to see if you can spot it!

Lanikai Kaʻōhao Monument 

Erected during the 1920s development, this monument stands at the hill's top entering Kaʻōhao. It symbolizes the area's transformation and the mislabeling of its name. In our print, we honor the original name, Kaʻōhao, over the now-common "Lanikai."

Hibiscus Flower 

The hibiscus flower in our Kaʻōhao print is a tribute to the classic aloha shirts that have long celebrated the art of storytelling through fabric. This vibrant bloom is more than just a beautiful element; it serves as a unifying motif that weaves together the various components of the print. By incorporating the hibiscus, we hope to evoke the sensation of peering through a lush flower bush, glimpsing the ocean and the other elements that define Kaʻōhao. This floral touch ties the print together, creating a seamless blend of nature's beauty and cultural heritage, and inviting you to immerse yourself in the timeless charm of the islands.

Waʻa (Outrigger Canoe)
The inclusion of the waʻa, or outrigger canoe, in our Kaʻōhao print is a homage to the rich cultural and historical tapestry of the area. The name Kaʻōhao, meaning "the tying," refers to an old legend involving Hāuna, who tied up two women after defeating them in a game of Kōnane, wagering valuable items from his canoes. Today, outrigger canoes are a common sight in the bay, symbolizing the enduring connection between the local community and the ocean. Although these vessels are used recreationally today, historically they were used for sustenance (fishing) as well as transportation. They represent the spirit of resilience, history, adventure, and unity that defines Kaʻōhao.

ʻIlioholoikauaua (Hawaiian Monk Seal) 

The Hawaiian Monk Seal, or ʻIlioholoikauaua, is a symbol of the unique and fragile marine life that inhabits Kaʻōhao. As an endangered species, the Hawaiian Monk Seal's presence in our print emphasizes the critical need for conservation efforts. These seals are vital to the local ecosystem, serving as indicators of the health of the marine environment. By featuring ʻIlioholoikauaua, we hope to raise awareness about their plight and the importance of protecting their habitat.

Coconut & Palm Tree 

Coconut and palm trees are often iconic symbols of the Hawaiian Islands. However, their history on the islands tells a deeper story of change and adaptation. Before Polynesians arrived, the only native palm was the Loulu. Polynesians introduced coconut trees, and today, a variety of palm species, both native and non-native, can be found across the islands. By including both the coconut and other palms in our print, we aim to illustrate the evolution of Hawaii's landscape over the last 1,500 years. This blend of old and new reflects the dynamic changes and the enduring beauty of Kaʻōhao.

We hope our Kaʻōhao print not only showcases the natural beauty of the area but also sparks conversations about preserving its history and environment. Join us in celebrating this special place with our newest eco-friendly swimwear collection, embodying the spirit of resilience and aloha.

Check out the Kaʻōhao collection on our website. Besides just bikinis, this print is available in towels, surf changing ponchos, kids ponchos, and zippered surf suit.

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