splashed these summer symbols -- not to mention surfboards, surfers and
palm trees -- across Hawaiian-print shirts worn by vacationers wanting
the getaway look.
The designs originate in Dobrott's home where green-shuttered windows
let the sun in and where palm trees grow year-round. Sometimes, they end
up as far away as Puerto Vallarta and Singapore.
"You see a lot of it in the airport," Dobrott, 43, said of her shirts.
"And it feels really good. You wanna go up to them and thank them for
Last weekend, she went to an Eric Clapton concert where about half the
male visitors wore aloha shirts. She spotted her designs in the crowd.
During her international travels for work -- she goes to Bali for
tropical inspiration and Jakarta for fabrics -- Dobrott sees travelers
cluttering airport terminals with her prints.
And walk into almost any gift shop in resort states, including
California, Hawaii and Florida, and Kahala racks will boast her designs.
"It's fun, it's kitschy, it's campy," Dobrott said of her fashions.
"It's fun clothes to wear. And it's unique to our area here. You go to
Kansas and you don't see people wearing this."
The Newport Beach native, who has also designed for brands like
Sportif and Pineapple Connection, grew up in the water scene. She spent
much of her childhood on the beach. She remembers biking over to 44th
Street where a friend lived -- the house had a front yard that was the
ocean -- and hanging out everyday.
Today, the 43-year-old designer is learning to surf. Her job has taken
her to Waikiki and the other Hawaiian islands so many times that she
knows the exact order of hotels along a well-known Waikikian strip. She
is familiar with the tropical ambience of the Caribbean and closer
Her knowledge of all things having to do with the beach shows up in
her designs, which are done in watercolor, gauche and by computer.
A promotion of the resort lifestyle, Dobrott admits.
Sporting a golden tan and cropped pants of her own design, she sipped
from a blue mug of tea at home this week as the sun hit her petite but
browned frame and said she can't help but sell this life.
"I mean, who wouldn't want to live here?" Dobrott asked.