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Lynne O’Neill, a long-standing supporter of Hawaii fashion whose career spans more than 30 years of runway show production in New York, is the first mentor to sign on to the Hawaii Fashion Exchange (HFX). HFX is a platform launching this year by the Hawaii Fashion Incubator (Hifi) to provide opportunities and connections for professionals, sponsors, and event hosts participating in Hawaii Fashion Month (HFM), happening in November 2014.

O’Neill’s enthusiasm and support for the local fashion industry is evident. “I’m thrilled to return home to share my experience producing fashion shows. It’s energizing to work with the various partners committed to promoting & growing Hawaii fashion,” she shared.

In the first of a series of HFX professional development opportunities, O’Neill will host a workshop in Honolulu on Saturday, April 26 for established and aspiring fashion show producers. The intensive workshop will cover venue planning, stage design, show choreography, model selection, and more. Workshop participants will visit venues including the iconic IBM Building’s newly renovated courtyard, to learn and practice production skills in real time.

Participants will receive a certificate of completion, and established fashion show producers can apply for a more stringent credential. The cost of the workshop is $50, all of which can be applied toward a membership in the Hawaii Fashion Exchange, launching later this year.

O’Neill, originally from Honolulu, typically produces between 14-17 fashion shows per season during each New York Fashion Week through her company, Hula, Inc. Her clients have included BCBG Max Azria, Behnaz Serafpour, Herve Leger, Vivienne Tam, Tommy Hilfiger, and Catherine Malandrino, among many others. Her career includes launch events with the Rolling Stones and Usher for Best Buy; fashion show consulting for CW’s “Gossip Girl,” Bravo’s “The Fashion Show” and “Sex and the City: The Movie.” O’Neill was the inspiration for the Margaret Cho character in HBO’s “Sex and the City” episode, “The Real Me,” and was also the fashion show consultant. She is a member of Hifi’s Advisory Board and serves on the HFM Steering Committee.

“The impetus behind this training is the goal of elevating Hawaii fashion as a brand,” says Hifi Co-Founder Melissa White. “Each year, we need to raise the bar for HFM in terms of execution and quality of events and runway shows produced locally. We realized that Hifi can have a hand in that through providing platforms like HFM & HFX, the go-to for resources for opportunity and professional development. We’re thrilled to be able to connect local talent with internationally prominent mentors.”

“A real need that emerged out of Hawaii Fashion Month in its first year was access to vetted and qualified professionals,” added Hifi Co-Founder Toby Portner. “There were 40 event hosts and 38 venues, and nearly all of them needed production, styling, models, and other resources to pull off their events. HFX will provide easier access to that talent pool for HFM’s sponsors, event hosts, and media partners.”

Workshop details:  Registration information is at www.hawaiifashion.org/calendar (click on the event listing.  Pre-registration is required by April 23, 2014. The workshop is Saturday, April 26, 9 am–4 pm. Participants should come prepared to walk to nearby venues in the Ward area. For more information, visit  www.hawaiifashion.org, www.hawaiifashionmonth.com

About the Hawaii Fashion Exchange (HFX)

HFX is an online platform that connects fashion professionals with opportunities and resources surrounding Hawaii Fashion Month.

An initiative of the Hawaii Fashion Incubator (Hifi), HFX will launch in the summer of 2014. Professional development, via a host of internationally recognized and experienced mentors in fields from photography to fashion show production, are just a few of the features HFX will provide. It will include an online directory of fashion professionals including fashion show producers, stylists, photographers, designers, and modeling agencies. Membership is $250 per year for a professional listing, and is included for sponsors and event hosts of Hawaii Fashion Month 2014. HFX members will receive opportunities for professional development and discounted participation in HFM events, and will be tapped for opportunities via HFM’s media partners, event hosts, and sponsors. For more information on Hifi, visit www.hawaiifashion.org.  To inquire about hosting an event or sponsoring Hawaii Fashion Month 2014, visit www.hawaiifashionmonth.com/get-involved.

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