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August Milan: Fashion Designer

How did growing up in Waipi‘o Valley influence your love for fashion?

The formative years of my childhood were spent on Hawaiʻi Island in Waipiʻo Valley. Everyday life was bit different than most; my family and I lived off grid with no running water or electricity. We spent our days exploring the valley, reading books and sewing doll clothes on our motherʻs vintage treadle machine.  

The rural conditions of Waipi’o Valley inspired resourceful creativity, which provided the foundation for my artistic expression as a designer.

How was your UH experience?

UH has given me a community I’ll always belong to. I recieved my first degree from Hawai‘i CC Palamanui campus and mostly recently my second from UH Maui College.

UH Maui Collegeʻs Fashion Technology program is a hidden treasure. I discovered it by chance after moving to Maui from the Big Island. Cheryl Maeda, the programʻs director, is an unsung hero in the eyes of her students. Her knowledge and expertise goes beyond what can be taught through a textbook.

What was a highlight of your education at UH Maui College?

Time in the classroom. We had such an eclectic group of people, all there for a common purpose. Lab classes were the best; my classmates and I spent so much time together, a natural synergy developed.

We adopted a daily custom of breaking for tea and coffee midday in the classroom. Sitting around the large classroom table we recharged, talked story and connected with one another before diving into our work again. These simple moments, as well as the fashion shows and community events we participated in annually, really helped reinforce the bond of our “fashion family.”

What advice do you have for a successful career?

Enjoy the journey; it’s not only about the goal, because the goal is forever changing. Everything is always preparing you for your next step.

If you’re true to yourself and do the things that bring you joy, you’ll realize you’re always exactly where you need to be.

What’s next for you?

I would like to further advance my sustainable resort wear line into a lifestyle collection.

How would you describe UH Maui College in one word?

Opportunity.

University of Hawai‘i Alumni