When Hawaiian Airlines rejuvenated the cabin of its Boeing B717 aircraft earlier this year with modern, lightweight seats by PaulWylde, the carrier was left with an up cycling opportunity. Hawaiian’s innovative solution will be on display to the public starting Friday at Honolulu Fashion Week, when the stylish garments and accessories made from the seat fabric will be unveiled in an exciting one-of-a-kind exhibit.


Graduates of Honolulu Community College’s (HonCC) Fashion Technology Program and participating designers from The Cut Collective + Creative Lab’s Fashion Immersive Program welcomed the airline’s “Cabin[to]Couture” project as a platform to showcase their skills using exclusive seat materials. It’s not the first time an airline has up-cycled their waste products.


“I got a call from Hawaiian Airlines asking if we had any students or alumni that could do an upcycle challenge, and I thought, with what? They explained that student designers would be given first and coach class seat covers to create wearable clothing,” said Joy Nagaue, professor of the Fashion Technology Program at Honolulu Community College. “I accepted – our students can do anything! I’m overjoyed they’ve been given this great opportunity.”

In March, Hawaiian began retrofitting its Neighbor Island fleet with a modern redesign featuring lightweight main cabin seats from Acro Aircraft Seating Ltd. The partnership with HonCC and The Cut Collective to repurpose large amounts of unused seat material was seen as a fun and creative way to demonstrate social and environmental responsibility. “Fashion and design have always been deep-rooted in the Hawaiian Airlines brand,” said Alisa Onishi, director of brand management at Hawaiian Airlines. “This project allows us to give back to our local community through education in a very unique and original way.”

HonCC student designs

“Each day, our flights take many travelers on the vacation of their dreams throughout our islands,” Onishi added. “Now, our unused seats are supporting a different kind of dream for up-and-coming designers in our community.”

Seven designers were asked to create wearable fashion and accessories from 19 First Class and 23 Main Cabin seats and headrests. The designers’ inspiration range from the early looks of flight attendants to intricate shapes within the seats themselves.

On Nov. 21, international celebrity designers will showcase capsule collections at Hawaiian Airlines’ Runway to Runway Fashion Show, a concept inspired by fashionable destinations serviced by Hawaiian Airlines. The designer lines are: Todd Snyder from New York, ELLERY from Sydney, LIE SANGBONG from Seoul, South Korea, AULA from Tokyo, and Hawai‘i’s own Kaypee Soh.

Posted by:Jonny Clark

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