By Siena Usui and Danika Kusumoto, Staff Writers
Rolls of colorful fabric dangle from the walls of Ten Tomorrow, a small clothing business located in Kaimuki.
Summer Shiigi, ‘03 Mid-Pacific alumna, owns Ten Tomorrow. She founded the shop in 2013, and they specialize in modern resort wear with everything being locally sourced from Hawaii.
“Our workspace is upstairs while our shop is downstairs, so customers can come shop and also kind of get a sneak peek behind the scenes of what it takes to run a fashion brand here locally,” said Shiigi.
Shiigi had a history in retail before starting her own business, reaching out to friends as potential coworkers.
“We’re friends and she knew I was working for another company and was able to offer me a position here, and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to work for a smaller compa
ny and to be able to work with somebody who is really hands-on,” said Nikki Tanaka, store manager.
Tanaka said an average day at work involves the staff arriving and first opening the store before checking the inventory on the floor.
“We make sure that everything is restocked, cleaned, and just ready for customers to come in,” said Tanaka.
After graduating from Mid-Pacific, Shiigi attended University of Hawaii before ending up at University of Southern California and graduating with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology.
“I think what was great about Mid-Pacific was it really felt like a school that had well prepared me for college, and I felt like my personal skills, work ethic skills, all of that was kickstarted by Midpac,” said Shiigi.
Shiigi said she started in the fashion industry as a stylist and began a company called Summer’s Style. It involved her setting up contracts with stores or designers and taking the clothing to create a luxury shopping experience for customers at their home or office.
“I think just naturally from building Summer’s Style and getting to know the local fashion scene, it piqued my interest to see instead of just styling, if I could branch out into the actual design and making. I was just curious at what it was like and what starting a brand would take, and then I never looked back,” said Shiigi.
Mari Nakamura joined Shiigi’s team as a production manager at the very beginning, explaining how she helps out with the many different pieces.
“We work with a couple local factories, so just managing where everything is, fabric ordering, and working with our vendors to make sure we have enough fabric. We always have to plan ahead for our collection,” said Nakamura.
For students interested in pursuing a career in the fashion industry, Shiigi has a few pieces of advice.
“I would try to reach out to the brand that speaks to you, see if you can just shadow their work, get an internship, work for them, whatever it takes just to get a sneak peek. And any work experience you have here will translate if you do want to branch out to something bigger on the mainland,” said Shiigi.
Ten Tomorrow normally accepts interns on a regular basis, with the majority of them coming from the university level as well as a few ambitious high schoolers.
“I had a great mentor when I got started, and I think it’s those relationships that have carried me through today,” Shiigi said.
Shiigi said she felt very supported by Mid-Pacific, comparing it to the unique and beautiful aloha spirit.
“The great thing about Mid-Pacific was it really fostered creativeness and the arts, and I think that stuck with me this entire time,” Shiigi said.