This is D3 The Concrete, bringing you fashion from the street.

I think that I want to start a new kind of article for #ThrowbackThursdays, covering vintage brands that are gone and/or are on the comeback trail.

During my trip to AGENDA earlier this year, I had a chance to meet one Derek Sciacqua, who was sitting at a booth there. We began to talk and he mentioned that he was one of the creators of a brand that I can vividly remember wearing as a child: GECKO HAWAII.

So, without any further delay, here is my interview with Derek and, as always, feel free to leave comments below and tell us your memories of GECKO HAWAII!

(All photos provided by Derek Sciacqua of GECKO HAWAII.)


Tell us who you are and where you are from.

My name is Derek Sciacqua. I am from Oakland California. I grew up in the Bay Area and now live in Encinitas, CA.

First, allow me to say that you are a LEGEND in the realm of streetwear/surfwear lifestyle clothing. I can remember having a tank top or two, with your brand on it. How did you come up with the concept of GECKO HAWAII?

Thanks. I’m glad you remember the brand. The brand started as Run Wild Hawaii. My long time friend and partner Vik Watumull started it in Honolulu. We had whales with sunglasses, Cockroaches with sunglasses and Geckos with sun glasses.

I met Vik at the ASR show in Long Beach in 1986. He had a small booth and was showing Run Wild Hawaii. He told me how well the product was selling in Hawaii and asked me if I wanted to sell it on the Mainland. I had just graduated from college and was about to take a job in Advertising. My brother was in the clothing business and told me to check out ASR with him before I took the job in advertising. The show was amazing. I loved the vibe and thought it would be a fun industry to get into. I decided at the show that I would sell this brand from Hawaii.

During our conversation at AGENDA, you told me a story about the numbers that GECKO HAWAII was making in the late 80’s, early 90s. Please share that with the audience reading this.

I got a set of samples and sold it to all of the surf shops in Nor Cal. This was about the time that surf shops really started selling apparel and not just boards and wetsuits. Two of my best customers were Wise surf shop in San Francisco and Arrow Surf and Sport in Santa Cruz. All of the product was selling well but the Geckos were far stronger than the whales and cockroaches. We decided to just focus on the Gecko product. Since it was a Gecko and it was from Hawaii we decided to call it Gecko Hawaii. 

We sold millions of units during our 25 year run, but the most amazing numbers we did were our beach pants. I guess you could say they were the original jogger. At the height of the trend we were selling 60,000 pair a week.

What was it that made you decide to bring the brand back out of hiatus?

My kids who are 31, 24 and 22 have been after me for a while to bring it back. I started seeing a lot of our original gear on ETSY. I also see so much of the 80s and 90s trend out there and feel that now is the right time to bring it back. Then I sampled some product and gave it to some kids on the surf team at San Clemente High. They are too young to remember it, but think the product is sick and they are asking for more. That was the catalyst for me.

Where and when will people be able to purchase GECKO HAWAII clothes?

The product is not available for purchase yet. We are working with some amazing retailers on the re launch. I will be able to tell you more at a later date.

What practical advice do you have for young people who are aspiring to go into the apparel business?

My advice is sample some product and start with your target market. See if your friends or people that you are trying to reach will pay to purchase your product. If you can find people that will actually pay for your product then you have a reason to get started. If everyone will wear it if it is given to them, but no one will buy it, then you should probably change up your gear and try again. Once you have the right product, just focus and make it happen!

2 Responses

  1. Matt Sciacqua

    Best of luck with your re-launch little brother.

    I remember the Gecko and Big Dogs explosion in the late 80’s…
    and as I once said back then, if you can’t run with the big dogs, stay on the porch. You had a very nice run…
    Nice to see you taking your brand off of the rocking chair; and back to your selected few. Pace is important.
    That being said…
    You gotta do some of the long sleeves with geckos running down the sleeves.



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