MauiTime Exclusive Fashion Interview with Jonnalynn Lyons of Paia Mercantile Lahaina

Jonnalyn Lyons. Photo Courtesy of Jonnalyn Lyons.

Jonnalynn Lyons of Paia Mercantile Lahaina. Photo Courtesy of Jonnalynn Lyons.

 

Jonnalynn Lyons, Operations Store Manager 

Paia Mercantile

Lahaina Gateway Center, Ste. 205, 335 Keawe St. Lahaina, HI. 96761

808-661-1001

 

Twitter: @PaiaMercantile

Facebook: Paia Mercantile Lahaina, Paia Mercantile Paia

 

How many years experience in the industry?

12+ years altogether in Retail Industry…

 

How did you get your start in the Fashion Design and/or retail industry? When was this? Did you have any formal training?

I first started in retail back in December of ’98 working for the Jewelry Industry for a reputable Hawaii Made company, stayed there for a total of 8 years. I learned all aspects of the Jewelry Industry and got my first look inside Fashion via the Wedding Industry. We often participated with Wedding Expo’s and Fashion just seemed to happen along the way… I didn’t have any formal training in Fashion, but I learned early on that I had a “good eye” and just started to act on it whenever possible, whether it be through window displays using Jewelry and incorporating the “on” trend at that time, or staging / styling an event, my experience was really just me “experimenting” through different opportunities that came my way.

 

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Dress and Necklace from Paia Mercantile Lahaina

How did you manage to launch your own fashion line?

It’s actually a dream of mine to start my own line. It’s currently a work in progress. Currently, I’m having fun Styling my Customer’s with the great pieces from our Boutiques, Paia Mercantile…

 

What is your philosophy of design?

My philosophy on design is really quite simple… Whatever makes you smile, happy, confident & comfortable, then thats what is right… I use that in my Home & Work life, whether I’m staging/styling an Event or a Person, I think that wearing what makes You Happy & Comfortable is all you need to be “Original” staying true to yourself and your own sense of Style. Born & raised here on Maui, as a Native Hawaiian, you’re influenced by not just the “trends of today” but also your Heritage, Culture & background. You can always take a page from History and somehow it still applies to present time…

 

Where do you draw your style inspiration from? Who is your favorite style icon?

My Style inspiration I draw a lot from Nature & Pinterest, LOL… Specifically Ke Kahakai (the Beach). To me when you live on an island in Hawai`i, your Style should reflect not just You as a person but also where you live, being surrounded by Ka Moana (the Ocean) that’s the best inspiration for me, it says everything I look for in Fashion: Relaxed, Cool, Organic, Airy & Fresh. Being drawn to Aqua hues & just a dash of Sparkle I truly do believe that inspiration comes to me from everything & everywhere, whether it be the Aqua shade in a Maui Sunset, or the Ombre shade in Sunkissed, Beachy hair, or how the sun makes the surface of the Ocean Twinkle like diamonds at a certain part of the day, inspiration to me, is Everywhere. It’s what you take & use & apply that defines your sense of “Style”.

   I don’t necessarily have just one Style Icon, but rather a “Style Season”. My favorite Season for Fashion is almost always Spring/Summer, only because here in Hawaii we don’t really have the “extreme” weather changes (thank GOD) but Spring/Summer evokes all the Fresh Colors. My favorite color, Aqua, Tiffany Blue, Aquamarine, whatever you call it, it’s always somehow the Happiest color ever, whether it be in a Home, used for an Event, or Fashion…  Although… if I had to name an icon in particular… it would probably be Audrey Hepburn, specifically her role as Holly Golightly in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s. I loved how she didn’t really care as to how “Glamorous” she’d dress for a simple walk at the park, but she wore what made her “Happy”, to me that’s the best rule of Fashion to always consider, “wear what makes YOU, Happy!!”

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Necklace and pants from Paia Mercantile Lahaina

 

What are the current trends in your industry?

Right now current trends include Tie-Dye w/without studded trimming, earthy tones (clothing) with pops of color (in accessories), beach inspired Fashion & Home trends, Fashion Jewelry – Statement Necklaces, Druzy Inspired Jewelry…

 

What are your top 5 hot trends for the upcoming Summer and Fall seasons?

1. Tie-Dye.  2. Studded trim (Clothing/Bags).  3. Aqua & Coral Combo.  4. Beach-Chic Fashion Jewelry.  5. Ombre Colored Summer dresses/Cover-Ups.

 

What is your signature style?

Vintage-Glam-Casual with a dash of Tiffany Blue… I love anything that is Casual & Comfy but can be dressed up with a Sparkly top or vintage clutch. I always always have something on with my favorite color, Tiffany Blue. Whether it be through Jewelry or Shoes or a Scarf… I almost always LOVE the juxtaposition of wearing your old, favorite pair of jeans and styling it up with a flowy & relaxed top, throwing my hair into a sloppy, tousled Up-Do, accessorize it with earrings and an oversized pair of Shades!! My 2 rules (Signatures) 1. Never leave home without Earrings 2. Oversized Shades can easily add just enough “Glam” to any look.

 

Tell me about your collection. What makes Paia Mercantile stand out from the crowd?

I think what makes Paia Mercantile “stand out” from the bunch is simple, we’re “Unexpected & Unpredictable”. When you first hear our name, you don’t think fashion. You think anything else but Fashion. We’re the “Pleasant Surprise” to both Na Kama`aina & Visitors alike. When you shop our Stores, you’re not just “shopping”; you’re experiencing what a “LOCAL- MAUI MADE” Boutique has to offer, from Jewelry to Photography to Art & Local Pottery and now to our Beach Chic Collection of Cover-Ups, Tunics, Dresses, & more… helping to preserve & support our Hawai`i Artists…

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Necklace from Paia Mercantile Lahaina

 

What is your favorite piece from your collection?

For me, my most favorite piece has got to be the Tie-Dye Lounge-Comfy pant, it’s soft & giving, it’s in an unexpected color combo which makes you want to smile and the best part about it is you can dress it up or keep it relaxed. It’s versatile in so many ways!

 

What shapes and styles are found in your clothing designs?

Right now, Tie-Dye & Ombre are the two styles found in our current collection.

 

What clothing & accessory lines do you carry in your store?

We carry Cover-Ups, Tunics & Summer Dresses along with a Lounge Pant, a Great selection of Fashion Jewelry & Local Jewelry as well as a few handbags & beach totes…

 

If we took a peek in your closet, what would we see? What is your ‘can’t live without’ item?

You would see a lot of Aqua shades in tops, pants, scarves, bags, etc. Some “Sparkle” pieces for the instant “dash of Glam”… My ‘Can’t Live Without Item’ has got to be my small but growing collection of Otaheite HI Pareaus. It’s so versatile & comfy and makes the perfect “strapless tunic length top” to wear over cutoff jeans, tights, or use it as a cover-up. The sky is the limit with a Pareau.

 

What is the staple clothing item or accessory every woman on Maui be sure to have?

The Staple item every Maui Wahine should have is a Pareau. Again, versatile & comfortable, & instant Beach-Chic! A staple accessory every Maui Wahine should own is a Fedora, easy to style anything with it, & it’s always on Trend!!

 

Tell me your top 5 styling tips.

1. Havaianas Slippers go with any outfit!  2. Wear colors that compliment you or make YOU Happy. 3. When in doubt or in a rush a Maxi-dress, Fedora, & Aviators is a quick & easy look that compliments anyone! 4. If you’re not into accessorizing, a pair of earrings always polishes any look! 5.  A “dash” of Sparkle compliments any Wahine!

 

Biggest fashion no-nos?

Leggings are NOT pants!! You should wear a tunic length top with that. Tie-Dye is back in, but NOT “Loud” Tie-Dye. Matching your entire look is not necessary. There is such a thing as “too much”…

Photos by Sean M. Hower