By Katie Galloway
Bobby Ikeda was thrust into the fashion world the day he was born. Raised in Hawaii Kai, Bobby’s family owned Shadows, one of Hawaii’s first successful high-end knit factory & garment dying facility. Bobby describes his father as a pioneer for garment dying and says he learned a lot from the family business. He still incorporates what he learned into his current work.
Despite growing up surrounded by fabric and garments, Bobby only really got into the fashion scene when he was in his late twenties. After dabbling in design, Bobby worked for a couple of big names such as Lords Leather and Bill Wall, and then started developing for brands like Alexander Wang and Junk Food.
Currently, Bobby is the owner and CEO of the Circle Group Inc., a company that specializes in brand strategy, strategic marketing, concept and product development, and manufacturing. Bobby most enjoys development and bringing products to life. As they put it on the Circle Group Inc. website, “it’s all about bringing projects all the way from concept to completion.” Additionally, The Circle Group Inc. houses two brands, Cameron Hawaii and DtE in California, and Bobby serves as Creative Director for both.
Cameron Hawaii is inspired by Hawaii and the aloha way of life. The beach resort lifestyle brand is based around a fictitious muse, Cameron, who hails from Hawaii, lives in California, & is inspired by her world travels. “Cameron Hawaii clothing embodies Aloha everyday and everywhere,” says the brand website. And it does. From the quirky pineapple print totes to the vintage inspired t-shirts, Cameron Hawaii exudes the island lifestyle.
Although Bobby has been away from Hawaii for many years, he hopes to come back and work as a part of the local fashion scene. He remembers growing up and being surrounded by locally made products, & he says it’s more of a rarity to see labels that say “Made in Hawaii” these days. One of his goals is to encourage local artists to embrace their talent. “I want to be able to create and help people who want to create,” he says. “There is so much talent in Hawaii. Made in Hawaii has meaning.”
Another thing that Bobby wants to do is build a knits factory and get back into Hawaii manufacturing. Eventually he says he hopes to build an extensive lifestyle brand out of Hawaii, using Cameron Hawaii as a model.
To young artists, especially local ones, Bobby says, “Be free, push forward, and never give up. I never gave up and that’s why I’m doing what I do. People in Hawaii are very resourceful. It’s a small place, where big ideas can lead to big things.”