Luncheon Recap: Getting to Know the “Creatives”


Our panel represented the fashion, new media, graphic design, art, and other similar communities and programs promoting the growth of Hawaii’s creative industries. All of the panelists are involved in various stages of designing, developing, and executing immersive educational programs for creative entrepreneurs.June’s HVCA luncheon examined innovation in the “creative space” in greater detail, looking closely at Hawaii’s growing ecosystem supporting these entrepreneurs.  This Luncheon shed light on the thriving creative scene in our startup community.

Getting to Know the “Creatives”


Toby Portner — Hawaii Fashion Incubator (Hifi)
David Cunningham — Global Virtual Studio (GVS)
James Charisma — Inkubator
Wei Fang — Interisland Terminal & Kakaako Agora
Georja Skinner —
 Creative Industries Division, State Dept. of Business, Economic Dev & Tourism
Allison Izu Song — Cut Collective

Meli James, President of HVCA, was the convener and served as moderator.


Additional Speaker Information:

Toby Portner — Hawaii Fashion Incubator (Hifi) – Hifi’s mission is to inspire, promote, and sustain an integrated fashion community in Hawai‘i. Hifi aims to raise awareness and appreciation of fashion as both art and industry through alliances with the arts,government, and business sectors, cultural organizations, and educational institutions. Hifi’s membership program fosters collaboration and resource sharing within Hawai‘i’s fashion community, providing guidance and resources and linking local talent with the global marketplace.

David Cunningham — Global Virtual Studio (GVS) – Global Virtual Studio (GVS) is a team of content creators based on the Big Island of Hawai’i and connected to the world. GVS is passionate about transforming original ideas into stories and bringing them to life. Utilizing the talent of the global community, GVS works to fully conceptualize and then refine dynamic characters, stories and ideas to shape uniquely stunning creations.

Founded by veteran filmmaker and entrepreneur David L. Cunningham, GVS employs an innovative model of virtual production that maximizes untapped creativity, world time-zones and economies of scale. GVS specializes in everything from transmedia franchise development and creative proof of concept to post production and marketing for a wide array of transmedia products.

James Charisma — Inkubator – Inkubator is a collaborative work and meeting place for designers, providing educational programs related to the print industry as well as 1-to-1 mentorship from experienced design professionals. Participants of Inkubator’s mentorship program will produce issues of the award-winning Abstract Magazine, a free local arts and culture magazine in collaboration with emerging writers, photographers, and illustrators. Inkubator is located at 501 Sumner Street, Iwilei.

Wei Fang — Interisland Terminal – Wei Fang has contributed over a decade of community-building through contemporary art. She curated artist-in-residence and community out-reach programs at the Harvard Art Museums, the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, and the Contemporary Museum, Honolulu. Wei Fang and Interisland Terminal are currently working with Kamehameha Schools on a project called “Kakaako Agora,” a public space in the Honolulu neighborhood designed by famous Tokyo-based architectural firm Atelier Bow-Wow.

Georja Skinner — Creative Industries Division, State Dept. of Business, Economic Dev & Tourism – Georja Skinner has been the Chief Officer at Creative Industries Division (CID)–a joint program consisting of the Film Industry Branch and the Arts and Culture Development Branch, which promotes the growth of Hawaii’s creative industries. Prior to her appointment at CID, Skinner owned and operated a marketing and production company, Skinner Entertainment, and developed integrated media strategies for U.S. mainland and Hawaii-based clients. In addition, she has developed Hawaii-based television series and feature films, authored a nonfiction memoir, worked in all areas of television operations and production, and served as the Film Commissioner for the County of Maui and Maui Commissioner for the Hawaii State Foundation on Culture and the Arts

Allison Izu — The Cut Collective – The Cut Collective is an incubator-workspace and factory hybrid dedicated to providing independent designers and business start ups with the resources and skills to streamline the production process.  Our hope is to transform the local manufacturing industry to be the most affordable, innovative, option which will provide high quality Made-in-Hawaii products to support the local economy.

Thanks for supporting these programs, and thanks also to our sponsors, the accounting firm of KMH, LLP, and the Plaza Club. For more information about sponsorship opportunities, contact Sandy Shiraki at