Matchy-matchy is not in Kaypee Soh’s vocabulary—the textile and interior designer prefers to mix things up.

The Hawaiian Islands are treasured for their diverse beauty and natural design. take that tropical beauty and design into the world of textiles, and you find Kaypee Soh.

Soh’s textile work is as innovative as it gets. He draws inspiration from the natural world, fortified with his background in fashion and photography.

“I’ll see things while I’m walking outside. I’ll make notes regarding what I see that inspires me. Then, I’ll transfer those thoughts to sketches and, then, to the final product.”

Clean lines, crisp patterns and familiar images can be found throughout Soh’s work. Add to these elements his instinctual sense of balance, and find Soh’s vision for today’s trends.

“The trends I’m focusing on include mixing patterns and colors,” he states.

In décor, this means creating pairings that one might not typically think of existing in unity. In personal fashion, Soh explains that one can match a top and pants that have contrasting designs to create a unique, dynamic look.

“What’s trending right now is the idea that you don’t have to be afraid of mixing different decorative elements. People don’t have the same designer’s pieces throughout their closets. They mix it up. You can do the same with your home décor.”

Soh’s home furnishings collection comprises both bright and bold, along with natural and neutral. His pieces celebrate the geometric and the fluid, yet all his designs are drawn from the flora and fauna of the world around us.

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Clean lines, crisp patterns and familiar images can be found throughout Soh's work. Add to these elements his instinctual sense of balance, and one finds Soh's vision for today's trends.

Soh found his way to Hawai‘i in 2004. But he was born in Malaysia, encircled and embraced by the vibrancy and texture of that country. He would study in London and, upon graduating with the highest marks in his class, earn a prized internship with the world’s largest design consultancy—Pentagram.

After a year of immersion in the world of company branding and design, Soh briefly returned to the land of his birth. However, he yearned for a space and setting that would allow his creativity to flourish.

A move from Malaysia to Vancouver, prompted by one of his sisters, was followed by a New York City headhunter seeking Soh out for his progressive design ideas. For twelve years, he worked in New York’s fashion industry, primarily in strategic brand consulting within the world of high-end fashion. But the pace in New York was fast, and soon, Soh began to yearn for the tranquility of the tropics.

Soh reminisces, “Through the beauty of the Hawaiian Islands, I rediscovered my youth—my love of art in a foundational sense. I was reenergized by these islands, and I reclaimed my specific passion for artistic creation through photography and textiles.”

Th is revitalization led Soh, along with partner Edward Macey, to found “So‘mace Design” in 2004. Th en, with a shift to the name “So‘mace Lifestyle,” he launched his first line of pillows and rugs. The branding of So‘mace was based in Soh’s commitment to guiding clients and customers to create holistic and contemporary home décor that speaks of lushness and luxury, comfort and charm.

So‘mace soon became, simply, “Kaypee Soh.” Soh’s belief is that there should exist a synergy between one’s home décor and one’s fashion, especially given today’s complicated world. Arguably the Jonathan Adler of the Pacific, he has brought forth items for home décor previously missing from the interior-design scene.

Soh’s clever collection of pillows, along with both wool-woven and hand-knotted rugs, are expressive in both color and composition. From these items, he branched out to custom lampshades, framed photographs and graphic prints, and even serving trays and coasters—anything one would need to create an interior as vibrant as the natural exterior that inspires Soh.

Noteworthy is the fact that the textile-based pieces within the Kaypee Soh collections are made in the United States, the pillows being sewn right here in Hawai‘i. He is committed to supporting U.S. and local businesses, believing that such actions are trending now more than ever.

Spirit and style are present in every element of Kaypee Soh. So, it isn’t surprising that his current driving venture is resort wear. The first step in this fashion-based endeavor is a line of snappy, ’60s-inspired women’s wear. The line is scheduled to debut in fall, spotlighting his scarf collection and introducing a line of fitted men’s aloha shirts, along with the possibility of handbags and eyewear in the future.

Photos courtesy Kaypee Soh