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On the hunt

  • CINDY ELLEN RUSSELL / CRUSSELL@STARADVERTISER.COM
    Peete's finds are an H&M belted shirtdress
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Unlike brands that cater to a narrow niche clientele, Goodwill has no one type of customer. Patrons range from club kids and moms on budgets to attorneys and TV celebrities aiming to augment their wardrobes with unusual conversation pieces or accessories to finish an ensemble.

The range of possibilities will be on view when Goodwill Industries of Hawaii hosts its 19th annual silent auction and fashion show Tuesday night at the Willows. The $75 ticket includes culinary creations by chef Jay Matsukawa and drink stations. The event will benefit Goodwill’s 30 statewide educational, employment and training programs.

GOODWILL SILENT AUCTION

Where: The Willows, 901 Hausten St.
When: 6 to 9 p.m. Tuesday
Tickets: $175
Info: 836-WORK (9675) or www.higoodwill.org

SALVATION ARMY FASHION SHOW

When: 11:30 a.m. Saturday
Where: Prince Kuhio Hotel
Info: 440-1859 or www.SalvationArmyHawaii.org

In this era of “reduce, reuse, recycle,” Goodwill is recognized as a pioneer in the environment- and human-friendly processes of diverting usable items from Hawaii’s landfills while creating work and training for those involved in recycling, refurbishing and retail operations.

At the fashion show, those unaccustomed to thrift shopping will learn how to build a wardrobe at bargain costs, while thrift-shop addicts will be entertained by seeing how like-minded souls craft their own looks out of random finds.

A dozen local celebrities, models and Goodwill board members will each pull together one to two looks based on their own style. Laura D. Robertson, president and CEO of Goodwill Industries of Hawaii Inc., said she’s always amazed by the models’ selections. “They’re always unique and always match their personalities.”

It’s often assumed that the nonprofit starts pulling premium items months ahead of the show to put its best on display, but Robertson said, “We don’t set things aside, because people need to be able to find these treasures when they shop.”

The lure of finding designer apparel for a fraction of retail cost is what keeps label-conscious shoppers coming back for more, and typically, Robertson said, they’re either looking for one unique piece to build an outfit around or they’ve purchased a pricey or statement piece elsewhere and are looking for complementary items to complete a head-to-toe look.

Last Friday, board members Gwen Yamamoto Lau and Kelly Kauinana were on the hunt for outfits to wear in the fashion show, and neither had any idea of what they were looking for. “That’s the fun part,” said Yamamoto Lau. “You just have to be flexible. You never know what you’ll find.”

“It’s a journey,” Kauinana said. “I just make sure I’m caffeinated and make sure I have enough money in my parking meter. There’s always something new to discover, and you can try on things maybe you wouldn’t elsewhere. It’s a lot of fun.”

After searching solo, both were surprised to have separately pulled black-and-white, polka-dot dresses.

“Are polka-dot dresses in?” Kauinana asked.

Of course, whether an item of clothing is “in” or “out” doesn’t matter to the fashionista who knows that what really matters is one’s sense of style.

Shana Peete is an attorney by day who also happens to be a frequent presence on local runways. She shared some secrets for speeding through the racks, which can appear chaotic to those accustomed to a more rigid retail environment. It starts with knowing your fashion personality and the colors and silhouettes that flatter your body and skin tone.

“You have to have a trained eye,” she said. “I’m the type of girl who knows what I like and knows what is flattering to me. I can shop without touching anything. I know what colors I like, what color of denim I like, so I just scan the racks for those things.”

She’s always on the lookout for geometric and tribal prints, whether to wear to the office or to be the center of attention on evenings out, but she’s not always so goal-oriented on her expeditions.

“Sometimes it’s just a good place to get lost all afternoon and get creative.”

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