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Explore Hawaiian culture through the art of lei making with flower inspirations and gorgeous photography from stylist, fashion designer, and local island icon Meleana Estes.
Brimming with vibrant photos of the most famous flower garlands of Hawai’i—the lei—in dreamy island settings, Lei Aloha tells the story of the flowers, craftsmanship, and community of lei culture, offering a window into this beautiful world where life is a little slower, flowers are abundant, and personal connections run deep. Local style icon Meleana Estes continues the legacy of her native Hawaiian grandmother, who was well known for her intricate and stunning lei. Sprinkled throughout the book also are anecdotes about the fascinating history of flowers, lei, and island traditions.
Each chapter tells the story of a grouping of flowers and lei, such as plumerias for a sweet gathering of neighborhood keiki (kids), elegant strands of white and yellow ginger for a candle-lit party, or striking lei haku made for hula performances. It’s an easy craft for the homesteader with roots in a full backyard garden or the digital nomad who keeps her possessions in one suitcase and can pick up flowers on her travels. With evocative photos of vintage mu’umu’us, lush tropical gardens, lei-bedecked longboard surfers, striking tablescapes, and graceful hula dancers, Lei Aloha shares a side of the islands that only locals usually get to see.
About the Author
Stylist and lei expert Meleana Estes learned to make lei from her native Hawaiian grandmother. After launching her career in fashion design in New York, Meleana moved back to Hawai’i and today her lei are in demand for fashion shows, photo shoots, workshops, and social media collaborations, and are inspiring a new generation of lei makers and flower shops. She is the founder of the Meleana lifestyle brand and her work has been featured in Coastal Living, French Elle, Vogue Japan, Garance Dore, CNN, and the BBC. She lives in Honolulu, Hawai’i.
Jennifer Fiedler is the author of The Essential Bar Book, which was featured in the New York Times and the Boston Globe, among others. She is a co-author of Brooklyn Beer Shop’s Beer Making Book, contributor to the Wildsam Hawai’i edition, and former editor at Wine Spectator magazine. She lives in Haleiwa, Hawai’i.