Takeo Kobayashi

Photo from Marc Schechter

Photo from Marc Schechter

Having arrived in Hawaii in the 1970s, fashion designer Takeo Kobayashi will bid adieu to the Islands next month when he and partner Eric Chandler move to Washington state.

“(I will miss) good people filled with aloha and wonderful friends who have filled our lives with great joy and a continued sense of promise,” he says.

There, Kobayashi and Chandler, who were featured on MidWeek‘s Dec. 15, 2006, cover, have an apple orchard on an acre of land. Though still in its initial stages, they plan to begin a new company selling rare, 100-year-old antique apple trees, which Kobayashi says can be grafted to new stock.

“We will be on the path of discovery as we identify the several types of apples in our orchard,” he says.

The duo, who founded 2Couture and are best known for their involvement in the Miss Hawaii USA and Miss Hawaii Teen USA pageants, as well as Hawaii’s Most Beautiful Man competition, among many others, doesn’t have plans to do that in Washington.

“I just want to enjoy my life,” he says.

These days, Kobayashi has turned to fine arts, spending his time painting and working with acrylic and mixed media.

He finds inspiration in life’s memories, recalling moments he spent traveling on the Mainland before coming to Hawaii, and abroad in Paris. Through his exploration of fine arts, Kobayashi says he has found deep satisfaction.

“The reason we so enjoy the fine arts is because we are able to totally and completely express ourselves,” he says, before adding that Chandler and he “will always be couture designers, as this is such an essential part of our souls.”

While on the Mainland, Kobayashi plans to show his art in various states, reconnect with the many friends he has made over the years and meet with fans who have purchased his artwork. Though he plans to live permanently in Washington, he will return here to vacation with friends and family.

After years of experience, Kobayashi says health, friendship and living a humble life have been the most important for him.

“Before, I did not understand a rock ‘n’ roll song called Born To Die; now I understand,” he says. “The journey of life is a humble experience, and I enjoyed it.

“We (would) like (to) extend a big mahalo to our dear friends who helped us, inspired us, supported us and filled our lives with kindness.”