KS Maui senior Kealoha Baricuatro and other wāhine impacted by the Maui wildfires received a free glam session courtesy of Manaola on campus for homecoming night, last month (Oct. 28). Photo credit: Kye Kukahiko
Kamehameha Schools Maui sophomore Azariah Borrero had been looking forward to homecoming night ever since she and her family lost their Kula home in the August wildfires.
While most girls typically have their hair and makeup done at home in preparation for big night, Borrero and about a dozen other high school girls impacted by the wildfires were treated to their very own special glam sessions by Manaola Hawaiʻi designers on campus.
“I was kind of shocked,” she said. “I actually wasnʻt going to get my hair and makeup done because I was just going to do it myself, but Iʻm happy I did get to go.”
The sessions included personalized stylings by the luxury fashion design brand as well as free Manaola clothing worth up to $350. Charles Reed Bishop Learning Center librarian Ketra Arcas helped to organize the sessions with the help of KS Maui parent Emily Ventura, who coordinated the shipping and steaming of the outfits to be available to the girls for the dance.
“It was really touching to witness the mothers and daughters gathered at the glam session,” Arcas said. “Manaola provided a beautiful gesture of aloha by pampering the wāhine and making their homecoming memorable.”
Borrero was initially hesitant to receive the clothes since she had already picked her outfit for the dance, but gratefully accepted it after talking with her counselor. Her family lost their Kula home and nearly all of their belongings in the wildfires but were able to stay with family until they recently moved into an apartment in Kīhei.
“The day the fire happened, we didnʻt expect it to come toward us,” she said. “I was able to pack up what I wanted, but we lost everything in the fire.”
KS Maui sophomore Azariah Borrero received a free glam session courtesy of local clothier Manaola on campus for homecoming night, last month. Photo credit: Kye Kukahiko
The loss of old photos and videos of friends and family over the years was the hardest, Borrero said. However, she said her family is doing better and homecoming night as well as the glam sessions were a welcomed change.
“It was something I was looking forward to for a long time,” she said.
High school sisters Makealani and Kahanu Hoʻoikaika-Mansanas also expressed excitement for the glam sessions with professional stylists and designers. They lost their Lahaina home in the wildfires and most of their clothes.
“It was kind of emotional,” Kahanu said. “All of the Lahaina girls got together and brought our dresses and took turns getting our hair and makeup done. It was just really nice seeing all of us in one place having that bonding experience, talking and laughing.
“We were really happy and honored to have that opportunity and be given that.”
The wāhine ʻōpio were given their choice of clothes to try on and keep for the Homecoming dance and their wardrobe. After picking their outfits, they provided a reference photo for their look to hairstylists, including Arthur Wilson III KSK’83 who has worked on New York fashion shows and movie sets.
Manaola hair stylist Arthur Wilson III KSK’83 volunteered his time to do hair and makeup for KS Maui senior Keakealani Cashman and other wāhine impacted by the wildfires.
“They did 10 times better than what we showed them,” Makealani said. “The best part was watching the process of everyone getting ready and seeing the reactions to the final reveal.”
Makealani said their mother might have been even more excited than they were and had the sisters pose for photos throughout the night.
“Our mom watched the whole process and didnʻt stop recording until we left,” she said.
KS Maui haumāna (from left to right): Keakealani Cashman, Kawailani Cashman, Makealani Ho‘oikaika-Mansanas, Kahanu Ho‘oikaika-Mansanas, and Hauakapukini Dukes.
KS Maui junior Kye Kukahiko, whose family was also impacted by the wildfires, said the glam sessions and clothes from Manaola were an exciting surprise.
“When you think of aloha wear they’re one of the first names you say. They have really good stuff. I never had Manaola stuff until last summer, and I didnʻt even buy that from Manaola. I bought that off of my auntie.”
Although she did not lose her home, her mother, father, and three siblings (including a 1-year-old sister) have been living with their aunt outside of Lahaina, Kukahiko said. She said the fire was directly in front of their home after they had evacuated.
“I think every auntie I know, every cousin I know lost their house,” she said. “My mom doesnʻt want to go back, especially since we have a baby.”
Kukahiko said homecoming night and the glam sessions were a “moment of normalcy” for her and her classmates. She was grateful to the kumu and volunteers who made the sessions possible.
“Makeup and dressing up doesn’t seem like a big thing but it made us feel normal and nice,” she said.