Allison Izu Song is the owner and designer of Allison Izu. With a father who is a serial entrepreneur and a creative mother, Allison is well-suited for the tough fashion world. Celebrating 10 years in business, she has hit her share of speed bumps but says in hindsight they were of benefit to her career because she always learned something.
Attending Sacred Hearts Academy and wearing a school uniform helped Allison realize how clothes are used to express personality. She also credits the all girls’ school with instilling in her the belief that she could do anything. While at UH Manoa, she fell into the fashion world when she needed an extra elective and chose sewing. Once she realized that this was an actual major for many of her classmates she was all in. Shortly after graduation Allison moved to New York where she attended the Fashion Institute of Technology.
Back in Hawaii after graduation, Allison worked on various projects including sewing wedding dresses. She eventually took the lead to create a line of jeans. Taking a risk, she borrowed all the money she could for materials and production in China. When the shipment arrived, however, it was all wrong – the fabric, the fit, everything was all wrong. This was a devastating blow but again, a huge life lesson.
With courage, Allison picked herself up and headed to try her luck in the Los Angeles fashion scene. She found that the tough and cut-throat LA industry rubbed off on her. Allison saw herself being a person she didn’t like and needed to find a way to come home to Hawaii and our authentic Aloha way of life.
Once back in Hawaii, Allison took another stab at a denim line and set her sights on getting her jeans in Nordstrom’s. She begged the buyer every day until he relented. Her jeans where a big success. The only problem was they were so good. They were such high quality, women only bought one pair. She needed to branch out to create tops and accessories.
It was during this time that Allison founded the Cut Collective, an organization to help others start fashion related businesses, but eventually realized she was putting other people’s dreams in front of her own. Over the last couple years Allison has been taking time to get to know herself again by getting back to the creative and solving problems side of the industry. She is her first customer. She wears every piece for at least a day to judge how it fits, how it moves. She has to love the piece or it doesn’t get made for the public.
Allison seems to really love fashion and has found joy in creating and sharing her work. Her advice to us “be authentic”. Listen and trust your inner voice. Don’t quiet yourself because of fear.
Allison Izu is located at 1114 11th Avenue in Kaimuki. Clothing is 100 percent made in Hawaii and they recently opened a family line, Olivia and Owen, named after her children.