When JT Ojerio, the talent behind beloved Hawai'i-inspired art line Aloha de Mele (alohademele.com), met Alana Penaroza of Tag Aloha Co.(tagaloha.com) at the Aloha Home Market a year ago, they instantly became friends. It was only natural that a collaboration should follow. Tag Aloha Co., a Kailua-based company founded by Alana and Kainoa Penaroza and AJ and Manjari White, has found success in its extensive line of bags, hats and accessories printed with Hawaii-themed designs. Now they've tapped Aloha de Mele for a line of four different pillowcases, pareos and waffle-knit towels featuring JT's Hawaiian florals, including hibiscus, pakalana and her signature Lei-Ers triple-strand puakenikeni lei. "My mind is always open and searching for inspiration, and I pull much of it from the beautiful sights of Hawaii and my memories of growing up here," explains JT of what inspires her. "The flowers I use are like the ones my grandma and so many others grew in their backyard."
Her artwork is made using a mix of digital watercolor and graphite pencil, and channels the local Hawaii culture that she missed while she was recovering from hip surgery far from home. Now her simple, eye-catching paintings that have become so popular the islands over are coming to life beyond the frame. The brands' collaboration is a new way to experience Aloha de Mele's art
in your home. "I really wanted the pillowcases to bring a Hawaiian floral feel to the home while still keeping the vibe classy and minimalist," says JT. "I personally like a more neutral home decor style, and I wanted the pillows to be cohesive with the nude and earthly tones often used in that style". As their partnership continues to grow, they will be expanding their floral accessories and home goods to fit a variety of decor styles. Exciting indeed.