At Mori, where gallery meets boutique, artwork hangs alongside clothing collections. Witty embroidered cards, all-natural soaps, and handmade jewelry decorate tables. Every three months, the Ward Village shop is refreshed with new, made-in-Hawai‘i products, providing each patron’s visit with unexpected pleasures. “Every day is an exhibition,” says store manager Pete Ulatan, “because it brings to light some of the talent we are funneling through Mori.”
Mori is the brick and mortar partner of Art and Flea, an ongoing monthly market that fosters local art, music, and fashion vendors. Both are headed by Ulatan and co-founder and president Aly Ishikuni. The event was birthed in 2010 as Ishikuni’s marketing major senior project while she was attending the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. Evolving from this embryonic state, Art and Flea now counts more than 700 vendors in its rotating list, and has expanded to include markets in Waikīkī and Mililani. “We believe the future of business in Hawai‘i is brands within our vendor roster,” Ishikuni says.
Mori gives a steady home to some of the more established vendors. Among its permanent brands are graphic design-inspired Moon Collective, children’s line Big Bad Wolf, and Andrew Mau’s hand-dyed alohawear collection. There are also handcrafted leather goods by Park & Terrier, vinyl records by Secret Record Store, and home goods from Virginia Paresa.
The shop’s undeniable allure is due in part to its modern aesthetic, curated by Ishikuni, as well as its rotating installations by artists such as Kamran Samimi and Andrew Binkley. In the evening, you might encounter a performance by an up-and-coming band, or on a weekend afternoon, a succulent garden workshop by urban décor vendor Luna Amante. “We’re for creatives, by creatives,” Ishikuni explains. “We do all the designs, the logos, the branding, the set-up, the break down, the cleaning, the painting. We do it all ourselves, but it’s worth it. Look at where we are today.”
Mori keeps it fresh by drawing on a list of inspiring vendors for selections that change quarterly. From August through October, shop art, accessories, and apparel by PangeaSeed, which raises awareness of issues facing marine life by collaborating with artists to create artwork and apparel; Conscious Designers Hawaii, a design collective by Camille Mori and Olivia Wong that curates fashions committed to environmental and socially responsible causes; 19th & Whimsy, with garments that exude effortless style and select prints; Jiwa Jiwa Press, or “little by little” in Japanese, a print outfit making letterpress-printed products; and Makers Space, which is a classroom and workshop for entrepreneurial crafters.
Mori is located in Honolulu at Ward Village at 1050 Ala Moana Blvd. Art and Flea takes place every last Thursday of the month in Honolulu at 1020 Auahi St. For more information about Mori and upcoming events, visit artandflea.com.