Virginia Loves Fashion
Submitted by: Sister Kristine Saunders, Archives
What would you do if you had a week in New York City? Visit the Statue of Liberty and see a couple of Broadway shows for sure. Wait for your special someone at the top of the Empire State Building, visit the 9/11 memorial, and eat some good food. Definitely! How about Fashion Week? WHAT? Who goes to New York City to attend Fashion Week? Meet the marketing fashionista, Virginia Souza, Digital Marketing Manager for the Polynesian Cultural Center.
Virginia was born in Kailua where she currently lives. When she was born, her name was supposed to be Holly. However, history and family tradition are important in Virginia’s family. She is named Kahulumealani as part of her family naming tradition and Virginia after her great-grandmother who was named after her great-grandmother and they were all born on January 22. She is the third Virginia in her family born on January 22 and named after a great-grandmother. How cool is that?
For the first four years of her life, Virgi, as her family calls her, lived in Japan. Her father, a civil engineer, had a contract with the Army. The family moved from Oahu to Japan then to Hilo on the Big Island and finally back home to Kailua. Virginia has a large extended family who is professional hula dancers. So it was only natural that when she was a four-year-old in Japan, Virginia was helping her mother teach hula to Japanese residents.
From about 8 years old on, Virginia grew up in Kailua. After graduating from Kailua High School, she attended the University of Hawaii, Manoa and you guessed it, she majored in Fashion Design and Merchandising. Virginia’s “passion for fashion” led her to Los Angeles and New York City where she could “get her feet wet” in the industry. In New York, Virginia concentrated on designing Red Carpet dresses for celebrities, constructing high-end garments for Neiman Marcus, and assembling a more affordable line of ready-to-wear cashmere garments. Everywhere she worked she gained valuable industry experience in pattern making and design. The biggest perk was a free pass to fashion shows and ultimately to attend a little event called FASHION WEEK.
During her time in New York, Virginia continued to date the same island boy she met during her college years. After evaluating their opportunities in New York, the couple decided that moving home to Hawaii was the best choice. After all, they had always planned on returning to Hawaii at some point. Turns out that the best solution was to move home to Kailua and for Virginia to continue to fly to New York every year for Fashion Week.
Once back in Hawaii, Virginia did some product development and design for smaller companies, Anthropologie and Athleta. It was while doing overseas manufacturing for women’s ready-to-wear in Bali that she realized online retail was getting more and more popular. She decided that it would be important for her to learn more about the back end of purchasing and shopping online. She needed to know how it all works. Signing up for boot camp, specifically “coding boot camp” was just the ticket and would provide the desired training. She learned the front and back ends of coding development to understand what’s happening in that space. Coding boot camp led Virginia to market which she sees as a blend of creativity and opportunities to share her cultural background, which is important to Virginia. She sees marketing as a way to deliver cultural ideas to the public through social media. The messages can be designed with content that portrays cultural aspects and representation through video, photos, or other visual snippets, which entice the public to visit the Polynesian Cultural Center. Here visitors have the opportunity to learn more about how purpose and gratitude can be found in a taro patch, and the essence of Aloha, along with immeasurable insights and cultural practices found throughout the Islands of Polynesia.
Virginia has been with the Marketing and Sales Department at the Center for about three years. She is able to work from home, which is helpful because she has a busy two-year-old. This adventurous, open-minded, fun-loving person has learned that the Polynesian Cultural Center is more than a popular tourist attraction. It is an important link to her Hawaiian culture. She especially enjoys working with the various departments and sharing a mutual love and respect for the Polynesian culture with others.
As for the future, Virginia recognizes that Kailua maybe her home, but she would definitely consider moving back to New York if it was the right place to be. She has friends and family who still live in New York. And, of course, there’s always Fashion Week.
Last week’s post contained an article honoring our beloved colleague, Tipa Galea`i. Unfortunately, an early version of the article was inserted into the bulletin rather than the final draft. We deeply apologize to the Galea`i Ohana and invite you to read this tribute in the format that was intended at the following URL: Weekly Update for January 12, 2022 – Polynesian Cultural Center
Now, more than ever: PCC is asked to please follow the following precautions
Submitted by: P. Alfred Grace, President & CEO
We have now received new data indicating that Oahu is now averaging 4,171 new cases of COVID per day, up from 2,560 just last week. Every department at the PCC has been affected by COVID, particularly in the last two weeks. So, it is extremely important for us to continue protecting ourselves as much as we can while at work by taking the following precautions:
Common COVID symptoms include but are not limited to High Fever, Cough, Fatigue or Tiredness, Congestion, Runny Nose, Sore Throat, Headache, Body aches, and loss of taste or smell.
Unvaccinated employees must continue to test weekly for COVID.
President & CEO