Celebrities Helping To Put Mililani Designers On The Map

In4mation designs are spreading quickly. Photo from Ryan Arakaki.

The love of skateboarding and the lack of clothing that fits their lifestyle led four Mililani residents to create their own clothing line.

Now, after celebrating its 10th anniversary earlier this year, In4mation’s designs are being worn by music’s biggest celebrities.

Yes, it’s nice to see Beyonce and Lil’ Wayne sport their designs, but that’s not really who gets the four friends excited.

“We’re more stoked when we see our skateboard idols wearing our clothes,” said Ryan Arakaki who opened In4mation in 1992 with friends Todd Shimabuku, Keith Kanatusuku and June Jo.

“So when we see somebody like Grant Brittan, who is an old-school skate photographer, we are more like ‘Wow, he’s wearing it’ because it’s like getting respect from our community.

We definitely appreciate superstars wearing it, but in our little world they (skaters) are our superstars.”

The four opened their first store in Mililani Town Center, and moved it to Ward Warehouse for eight years before settling into the current Chinatown location. They have a second store in Pearlridge along with products that can be found in more than 200 stores in Japan, Hong Kong, Australia, the Philippines and throughout the Mainland.

Like many entrepreneurs, Arakaki and his friends spotted a void in the retail market and moved to fill it. Part of this missing market was selling underground lines that were popular in Japan, New York and elsewhere but hadn’t yet been available in Hawaii.

“A lot of us grew up either surfing or skateboarding, and we couldn’t get clothes that we really wanted, so we figured we could fill that void,” Arakaki explained.

“So the name In4mation came about

because there are four of us and we wanted to inform the people of Hawaii that there are different styles of clothing available.

“Most stores catered to the surf crowd, and we wanted to get into the street and skate crowd as well.”

While it may surprise those who pass by their bright and modern stores, the four skate rats have not yet amassed the fortunes of some of their buyers. But that is a goal: to follow in the footsteps of action sports companies like Billabong that started small and have grown to become worldwide brands.

“We want to do it our way, along the lines of Stussey. They are not a publicly traded company and they have kept to the core of their brand. Because of that, it has given the brand integrity, and that’s why they have lasted.”

If you’ve seen Lil’ Wayne recently but never knew what he was wearing, that black ball cap with a soft cursive “hi” is an In4mation design.