Rest in Aloha Ernie Cruz Jr.

special_ernie2The Ka’au Crater Boys and Ernie Cruz Jr. was the soundtrack to our hanabata days. As a keiki, I remember being in the car with friends with someone’s dad driving and “You Don’t Write” came on the radio. The car stereo volume was turned up and all the boys were singing every word.

Over the past two days, I’ve been checking my social feeds and it’s been filled with Cruz’s music. The Best of Ka’au Crater Boys album is one of those that transport you back in time. Cruz’s vocals and instrumentals resonated with Hawaii back then, and has stuck 20 years later. Every single song on the album is a hit. Every. Single. Song.

Though Cruz has passed he is not gone. His music is a gift that will never die. You never know when you’ll hear the melody of his voice accompanied with the strum of his guitar that will force you to reminisce about the past, while singing along with Uncle Ernie.

Mahalo for providing the soundtrack to my generation’s childhood. Rest in Aloha, Ernie Cruz Jr.


RESTOCK: Pueo Cheehuuu Black Tee Now Available

cheehuuu-pueo-black-teeJust in case you missed out the first time, or fell and made a puka in your first one, TRADES Pueo Cheehuuu Black Tee is back in stock in limited quantities.

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TRADES at GreenRoom Festival on Saturday 9/10

Greenroom FestivalTRADES Hawaii will be setup at the GreenRoom Festival Hawaii 2016. Come down grab some grinds, check out local art, and enjoy good music with The Green headlining! Doors open at 3pm. Go to the to grab tickets! See you there!


TRADES at July’s Honolulu Nightmarket Dog Days of Summer

TRADES will be setup at SALT in Kaka’ako this Saturday (7/16), from 6-10pm. Come cruise!

More info here.

TRADES Cheehuuu Pueo Trucker


Releasing this Saturday, July 16.
Limited release online and at July’s Honolulu Nightmarket: Dog Days of Summer. Read more


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TRADES made the news as a featured item for Saturday’s (12/19), Art & Flea x Office of Economic Development, “Holidaze Chinatown Market.” Diane Ako said shirts and stickers were “super cute, yeah?” Aunty Diane knows what’s up!

Art & Flea “Small Business Saturday”

Mahalo to everyone that came out to Art & Flea on Small Business Saturday and bought some TRADES goods. The support means everything. This was our first show and I didn’t know what to expect. From the prep to the actual event day, it was hard work that I couldn’t have done by myself (thanks everyone for their kōkua). To see the stoke on people’s faces is worth more than cash or credit (though that helps too), and makes all the stress worth it.

If you missed us this past event, we will be working the next Art & Flea on December 19 in Chinatown, from 12-5 pm. More details to come.




Photo: Christopher Lee Matsuo

“Lineage” T-Shirt and Tank Top Available Now

When I started designing t-shirts, all I had was a cheap one-color printing press. The equipment wasn’t the best and I wasn’t the best screen printer, but I was stoked to be able to print my ideas onto something that I love – graphic t-shirts.

The “Lineage” design was my way of paying homage to Hawaii’s Ali’i Nui, Kamehameha the Great or Pai’ea, along with the four Kamehameha that succeeded the man who united our islands. I printed a few, sold them to friends. I printed more and sold more, until I couldn’t keep up with the requests and decided to get the t-shirts and tank tops printed from someone who knew what they were doing. I am extremely humbled that people continue to receive the design well.

I am more humbled by the response I get from people that wear the design. Random people stop and ask who is on their t-shirt or tank top, and it starts a dialogue. Culture and knowledge is spread through conversation, and Hawaii’s culture cannot die if these conversations continue. Honestly, I think it’s cool that a dialogue can be sparked by something as simple as a graphic t-shirt.


“Lineage” t-shirts and tank tops available now here.


Jiu-Jitsu Saves Lives | Jordan Gomez

jordanedit_1024x1024Jordan Gomez wanted to hang up his jiu-jitsu gi for good. Despite submitting seven of his eight opponents, placing second in his division and first in the open weight division at the 2012 Polynesian International tournament, the 27-year-old Kauaʻi product was growing unenthusiastic about the grappling art. But now, with the help of Professor Aldo Caveirinha Januario and Caveirinha Jiu-Jitsu Family (CJJF), the black belt featherweight is hungrier than ever to make a name for himself.

As a young teen, Gomez was harassed and picked on because of his scrawny shape and shy personality, which accounted for his low outlook on life. In his senior year of high school, Gomez took his first step onto a jiu-jitsu mat and in less than a minute was tapped out via arm bar performed by a much younger boy. Nevertheless, he was hooked. The martial art, sometimes referred to as arte suave (the gentle art), relies not on size and strength, but on technique and leverage, which was perfect for him. Since then, jiu jitsu has played an immense role in transforming his confidence while also instilling humility.

“You can’t get big headed about it,” says Gomez of his progression. “You get choked out on the mat every single day. You have to leave your ego at the door and there’s no pride in jiu-jitsu. You can’t come to the school thinking you’re gonna beat on everyone—it’s just not the way it goes.”


In 2008, when everyone was on the MMA (mixed martial arts) bandwagon, Gomez took the plunge into the popular sport and moved to Los Angeles. After a year of missing home and not focusing purely on jiu-jitsu, he left the City of Angels and relocated to Honolulu where he set up his own gym. It just so happened that his gym was the same location as his house garage. While there were no required gym fees and he was able to train with his friends everyday, the space lacked guidance and consistent motivation.

Still, the talent was there and he entered in the Polynesian International tournament. One of the referees, Professor Caveirinha, noticed Gomez’s performance and invited him to a seminar at his gym in Kaka‘ako.

“[Caveirinha] came up to me after the tournament and told me he saw a lot of potential,” says Gomez, “but I needed a teacher to push myself. That was probably the changing point and I’d have to say that he definitely saved my jiu-jitsu because I was kind of getting discouraged and over it for a little while when I was a purple belt.”

Caveirinha, a fourth degree black belt, brought him into his class and Gomez never left, eventually helping Caveirniha with instructing students. He believes Gomez is the next big thing in jiu-jitsu to come out of Hawaiʻi.


“I believe he is number one in Hawaiʻi now,” says Caveirinha, “but I told him, if he gets a gold medal in Brazil and California, for sure people from all over the world will respect him of his jiu-jitsu and his style.”

This May, Gomez will be competing in the World Jiu-Jitsu Championship in Long Beach, California to do just that. The only competitors allowed to enter the same tournament that put BJ Penn on the map in 2000 as the first non-Brazilian gold medalist, have medaled in international tournaments or accumulated 50 points. Gomez placed third in the 2014 Asian International Open in Japan, automatically qualifying him for Worlds.

Jiu-jitsu has molded Gomez into a confident, but humble man–its given him a purpose in life. At some point after he earns degrees on his belt and builds a stronger résumé, he wants to open a jiu-jitsu gym under his name and give back to the art/sport that continuously gives him so much. Whether on Oʻahu or Kauaʻi, he’s hopeful the gym will not be in his garage.


*Photography by Jake Ho