Ara Laylo speaks on how her life journey serves as her muse.

With nineteen years of experience promoting and curating design, music, and art in Hawai‘i, Ara Laylo brings a deft style as the creative director of Nella Media Group. Between deadlines, Ara periodically serves as a design and typography lecturer at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa and can often be found volunteering for local non-profit groups who support Hawai‘i’s arts and culture community.

About the speaker

Watching one of Ara Laylo’s Instagram stories can be a disorienting experience, but that’s the point. A quick glance at her daily curated collection of disparate, provocative art finds can leave you feeling dizzy with the randomness of the imagery, selected by Ara to purposely disrupt Instagram’s algorithms. After a few moments, however, it becomes impossible to deny that there is a common current underlying the collage, a subtle fluidity to the palate that’s difficult to articulate and impossible to replicate. Her disdain for the norm extends to fashion as well, where her eclectic vintage wardrobe was recently profiled in Vogue. That boundary-pushing tendency and exploration of states of change is the secret sauce that’s made Ara one of Honolulu’s top creative talents and a leading force in redefining what Island-style is in the 21st century.

A local artist, designer, educator, collector, erstwhile musician and concert promoter, Ara Laylo has worn many hats over the last two decades in a career marked by an unwavering interest in Honolulu’s arts and culture scene. In her current role as the Creative Director at Nella Media Group (NMG), Ara oversees the creative helm of 12 publications and 7 channels, leveraging her deep ties to Hawaii’s creative community and her BFA education from UH Manoa, where she teaches courses on design theory and typography.

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