“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? Then they proceeded to explain that student designers would be given first and coach class seat covers to create wearable clothing.  I accepted.  Our students can do anything,” shares Joy Nagaue, Professor of the Fashion Technology program at Honolulu Community College, and 2014 Hawai‘i Governor’s Fashion Award recipient.


Hawaiian Airlines recently rejuvenated the interiors of their Boeing 717 aircraft with a new retrofit design. This partnership between the airline and the college is to repurpose seat material, in a creative way that demonstrates social and environmental responsibility.

Three Honolulu CC alumni were hand selected by Nagaue to take on the challenge:  Jacky Lau, Chai Lim and Randy Oribello.

Jacky Lau


A 2013 graduate of the program, Jacky Lau designed a futuristic men’s coat for Hawaiian Airlines. “I’ve been intrigued with design due to my interest in Cosplay. My senior fashion line while at Honolulu CC was men’s wear that featured clean lines yet had a modern edge.”

Lau started off his education pathway at Kapi‘olani Community College taking general education courses. He later transferred to Honolulu CC into the fashion technology program to hone his skill level. Lau has been working at Macy’s as a sales associate, and for him coming back to design for this challenge was a welcomed opportunity. “It’s nice to come back to the lab and work along side Randy and Chai.”

In the future, Jacky hopes to move closer to the heartbeat of the fashion industry – New York.   In the mean time Lau comes back to Honolulu to take elective courses in fashion to keep his skill level sharp.


Chai Lim

Chai Lim graduated from the Fashion Technology program in 2013. He is currently working at Tori Richards, a resort lifestyle clothing line, as a Gerber pattern technician. Working in the industry straight out of college was an eye opener, but for Lim he felt confident with the skills he obtained in the fashion program to be successful on the job from day one.

“I was an international student studying at Kapi‘olani Community College taking liberal arts classes. I’ve always loved design and sought out a program that would fulfill that passion. I called Ms. Joy and she showed me around the fashion lab and talked to me about the program and the rest is history,” explains the Singapore native.

“I love Hawai‘i. I love the weather and the people are so friendly. I plan to stay here and continue to perfect my art form. In the future I would like to design my own line.”

For Lim this Hawaiian Airlines project is his way of giving back to the community and the program that helped him live out his passion.

“It’s an honor to be selected for this challenge!”


Randy Oribello

“I’ve already broken five needles!” laughs Randy Oribello, a Waiphau native who graduated from the fashion technology program in 2014, as he describes working with the seat covers. “I got the call from Ms. Joy and it’s been about two weeks since accepting the challenge.  I’ve had a blast. Coming back to work in the lab at Honolulu CC is like coming back home.”

The Campbell High School graduate attended Heald Business College to learn business administration then worked in sales at Neiman Marcus. “I’ve always loved fashion and taught myself how to sew watching YouTube videos. When I learned all I could on videos I was in search of a program where I could properly learn the trade.”

“I describe my design style as historical vintage chic. My pieces are modern, wearable and have structure. For this project I have constructed a corset mixing both the first and the coach class seat material.”

Since 2011, Oribello has been working at the Disney Aulani Resort as a tailor in their costume department. He gets to fit Mickey Mouse, among other famous characters,  and construct garments worn for the parades at various Disney resort theme parks around the globe.

“My biggest advice to aspiring fashion students is to sew everyday and perfect your skills. Be patient with yourself, practice, and push yourself and you’ll succeed.”


“We are so proud of our alumni and their accomplishments. Not a week goes by that I don’t get a call or a visit from a graduate of our program. We teach all our students practical, useable skills in the industry so that they are ready to hit the ground running once they leave us,” Nagaue explains.

As for the partnership with Hawaiian Airlines, “Our students are always up for a challenge.”

See Jacky, Chai and Randy along with their wearable Hawaiian Airlines Cabin2Couture designs during HONOLULU Fashion Week presented by Hawaiian Airlines November 20-22, 2015 at the Hawai‘i Convention Center. For more information on HONOLULU Fashion Week, visit www.honolulufashionweek.com.

Preview their designs at our Flickr photo gallery: https://flic.kr/s/aHskp8AqY2