illest Opens in Kakaako

Illest has opened its first Hawaii store at Our Kakaako, offering its popular line of clothing for men, women and children.

“Illest is more than just a simple expression,” explains owner Mark Arcenal, who lives in Northern California but travels to Hawaii often. “To understand, one must trace back its lineage to parent company Fatlace. Born in 1999, Fatlace initially started as a blog about the elements of hip-hop, with roots in music, breakdancing and graffiti. Another collective interest among the Fatlace family is cars, which inevitably became a central focus for the brand.”


Image 1 of 10

Taelson Larrow: illest ‘BP letterman’ in charcoal $160, illest ‘Safari Bold’ pullover in black $56

As for the meaning of illest, Arcenal defines it as the best an individual can be. He notes the term was pulled from lyrics by New York City rappers in the early 1990s and soon grew in popularity. Fatlace started creating cursive illest T-shirts and stickers, and soon followers of the brand began displaying them on their cars, and in 2006 illest officially was born under Fatlace’s wing.

“Illest has evolved into what you see today, and is still pushing forward with collaborations, motorsports sponsorships, b-boy battles and more,” adds Arcenal, who has a bachelor’s degree in commercial design from San Francisco State University. “With allusions to hip-hop and strong ties to car culture, illest covets a collective and growing style of living. With that said, illest is always receptive to change, making sure that there is nothing better.”

For 2014, the company will release new and fun collaborations, including with G-Shock, Transformers and Voltron. Illest also has shops in Los Angeles and Costa Mesa, Calif. The Honolulu store only carries illest and a new brand called Puffer, in which Arcenal also is a partner. Illest Hawaii is located at 680 Ala Moana Blvd., Suite 104A.

For more information, visit, or on Instagram @illesthawaii or call 888-0956.