Pōpolo | Cross back dress
Straight line dress | Cotton & lycra | Crossed straps at back | Designed in Hawaiʻi nei | Made in the USA
One of the most powerful plants in our culture, pōpolo is rooted deep in our history. Farmer chief Lono put his ʻōʻō (digging stick) through his foot and was healed with pōpolo. He then became Lonopūhā, the first student of lāʻau lapaʻau (healing arts). Pōpolo is also used for coughs, burns, broken bones and more. Crushed leaves are placed on a baby’s manawa (fontanel) to keep it from closing too soon, as babies are fed both physically and spiritually through this opening. (Pōpolo is a very strong lāʻau, so seek the advice of experienced practitioners). Of the four native species of pōpolo, Solanum americanum was likely the most widely used. Hinihini (cooked pōpolo greens) was a staple vegetable and was even dehydrated to take on voyages (pīkaʻo pōpolo). A great voyage to Kahiki brought food plants back to Hawaiʻi after Haumea, angered by the kidnapping of her granddaughter, took all food and returned to Nuʻumealani. She left only kī and pōpolo for her attendants on Maunawili, foods they shared with others during this great famine. Voyagers used the term “moana kai pōpolo” for the deep dark ocean, a reference to the deep purple of the ʻolohua (pōpolo berries). We celebrate this beautiful ocean reference along with the use of the word pōpolo to refer to dark skin. The most precious offerings to the akua were always those of a dark or black color, reminding us of our connection to pō, the generative darkness that creates our universe. The endemic & endangered Solanum nelsonii is the species featured in this design. Ola mau ʻo Lonopūhā - Lonopūhā lives on through healing.