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Couture for a Cause, the student behind the gown, August Milan

August Milan

What sparked your passion for fashion?

I’ve never really thought of myself as having a “passion for fashion”; moreover I would say I have a passion for design. As a child, I grew up with very little luxuries, at times years would pass by without a television set or electricity. Books presented an opulent world full of the adornments unfound in my own. It was through their pages that I first began fantasizing of the beautiful garments described in their stories.

 Is this your first year showing at Fantasia Ball?


 What do you look forward to?

I am excited to see the final results of the collection each of our classmates has worked so hard to produce. Many extended class days were spent after hours in order to create these garments. It will be a wonderful moment to share these labors of love with the guests and coordinators of this great event.

3. Why do you think it’s important to support our keiki?

Tomorrow’s teachers, caregivers, entrepreneurs, leaders, mothers and fathers are today’s children. As adults, today, we have the sacred responsibility of stewardship and protection of our surrounding environment as well as nurturing our interdependency with one another within our communities, families and greater world. It is of utmost importance that our keiki know how valuable they are and that they feel supported and surrounded with love. ..

 4. Can you relate to not picking up on something as quickly as your peers?

Currently, it involves threading a needle! But on a more serious note, two of my three children have struggled academically due to dyslexia. My youngest has been diagnosed recently and is receiving the much needed help thru additional services at his school. Sadly, his older sister did not receive the same benefit. As her mother, I could not understand why something seeming so simple for me or her older sister, was so difficult for her. Student, mother and teachers were in a constant state of frustration over her schoolwork, as a result,  her self esteem and confidence plummeted and eventually, she dropped out of high school and received her GED. I wish I knew then what I know now. My daughter’s brilliance comes forth on so many levels,  highly intuitive, artistically talented, and a vivid and lively writer, she would have thrived in the right educational environment. Where other mother’s may have had their child correctly diagnosed early on, I did not with my daughter. It is something I deeply regret to this day.

5. Can you describe your design aesthetic?

My aesthetic is continuously changing as a result of ever changing interests. A constant, however, is my interest in beautiful textiles and prints. They are the paints, which decorate the silhouettes of the garments I design. My designs have ranged from extreme asymmetries to girlie feminine with a hint of edge. The dress I designed for Imua’s event is of the latter inspiration.

6. 3 wardrobe tips for our guests getting ready for Fantasia Ball 2014:

  1. When in doubt, error on the side of extravagance! This is a once a year gala event! Go all out! Hats, hats hats!
  2. Have fun! Add the unexpected, even if in the small details. If you plan on wearing black and white, pair with vibrantly colored shoes/ heels. Add streaks of metallic color to the ends your hair or flutter a set of extremely long faux lashes!
  3. Mix it up! Say no to matchy-matchy and add bold rocker accessories to a lace gown, or a frilly blouse with black leather pants, layer a fitted men’s tuxedo jacket over a shorter flouncy cocktail dress and glittered jewel studded heels! Think: Playing dress-up for grownups!

How many hours have you spent working on this look?

Honestly, I have lost count. Hours and hours have been spent alone cutting out lace motifs and hand sewing them on the layers of the skirt portion

When you graduate, where do you see yourself?

I have an 11 year old son who loves Maui, so I will remain in Hawaii post graduation and work on my designs here.

How can fashion make a difference in today’s world?

On an individual level, fashion has the ability to change people’s perception of themselves and heightened their self-esteem. Globally, a gradual, more eco-conscious approach to the manufacturing and production process will benefit all of us.

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