Cynthia Rowley, who’s been known to catch a wave near her home in Montauk, N.Y., on summer weekends, is about to become ohana.
The designer and surfing enthusiast is opening her first store in Hawaii at the Ala Moana Center. The 675-square-foot unit is part of Ala Moana’s new Ewa wing expansion, which features a new Bloomingdale’s that opened on level two. Nordstrom is arriving next year.
While ready-to-wear and accessories will be sold in the store, its focus will be swim, surf and fitness. Rowley is creating new products for the store and plans to roll out the concept to locations that support the surf lifestyle.
“The concept of the brand was born out of the success of the wet suits and swimwear,” Rowley said. “Basically, it’s a surf, swim and fitness concept. It made sense to us to separate those categories out a little bit.
“Hawaii is a great place where we can try out things like the new soft top surfboards we’re starting to make that we call Kook boards. Soon, we’ll get the Web site up and you’ll be able to order online and pick up in store when you go to Hawaii.”
Rowley’s wet suits are a far cry from the typical black garments made from foamed Neoprene. She uses 2 mm Fiber-Lite Neoprene in color-block versions and prints that look like pieced denim and zebra stripes.
Her fitness wear is equally lively. A black puffer vest is decorated with gold foil designs and splashes of color are thrown onto black jackets and leggings. “We designed so a lot of our fitness apparel with copper-lined zipper pouches” for phones, she said. The Ala Moana store will also sell Rowley’s sunglass collection.
Surfing is part of Rowley’s family’s lifestyle. The designer’s husband, Bill Powers, and 10-year-old daughter, Gigi, are surfers and her 16-year-old daughter, Kit, “are obsessed with the sport and starting to compete.”
The surf and swim shop concept has been developing at Rowley’s Montauk store, where there’s a mix of products. “Travel and adventure is so much a part of the brand and that’s what Honolulu is about. We may take an additional store in certain markets or switch over some of our stores in areas where there’s a surf community like Charleston, S.C.,” Rowley said. “I would love to open these concept stores in Japan. A natural extension would be to do some in Australia.”
Rowley in April will launch tech accessories with a fitness bent along with beach bags printed on nylon and tricked out with compartments for holding yoga mats, shoes, laptops and even dirty laundry. There is also a new fragrance, Rowley’s second, on its way.
The designer has been busy with a new 167-piece furniture collection that will bow in March.
“We’re shooting for just before New Year’s to open the Honolulu store,” she said. “We’ll have to get the Hawaiian blessing that they do. You have a Hawaiian priest come and bless the space. It’s a tradition for good luck.”