Archive for » March, 2011 «

Aloha Shirts

“Aloha shirts,”  better known as Hawaiian shirts, are a recognized and worldwide icon originating from what some call “paradise,” the island of Hawaii.   These symbolic shirts have their roots in a rich blend of four different cultures: bright kimono cloth from Japan, the relaxed and cool-wearing Barong Tagalog (an untucked shirt) from the Philippines, colorful garments and silk from China and the customary collared shirt style from the USA.  Now days, these tropical shirts can be characterized by their bright and colorful pattern print, short-sleeves, collars, and buttons down the front with a continuous pattern throughout.

The invention of the modern aloha shirt in the 1930s can be attributed to a Chinese merchant by the name of Ellery Chun of King-Smith Clothiers and Dry goods, a store in Waikiki.  In an attempt to build business during the Depression, Chun and his sister Ethel Chun Lum, took leftover kimono fabrics, began sewing and quickly converted them into brightly printed colored shirts which they sold to tourists.  Chun trademarked the name shortly after his trendy creation was coined by a newspaper in Honolulu.

Hawaiian shirts, also known as Tropical Shirts, have taken off since they first entered the industry back in the 1930s.  In 1947, the Aloha Week festival began and city employees in Hawaii were able to wear these Hawaiian Clothes for business.  Hawaiian shirts were rapidly noticed by local Hawaii residents, surfers and Waikiki beach boys who started buying them in mass quantities.  In 1962, aloha shirts were promoted as business attire for use in the workplace.  Shortly thereafter, two aloha shirts were given to each member of the House of Representatives and the Hawaii Senate which eventually led to the use of aloha apparel during summer months.  “Aloha Fridays” officially began in 1966 after Bill Foster Sr., president of the Hawaii Fashion Guild, campaigned for “Aloha Fridays” in the workplace – a day where men could wear their aloha shirts on Fridays.  By 1970, the protocol for business attire for any day of the week was aloha wear.

California was the first state to adopt Aloha Fridays and it continued to gradually spread around the world, where by 1990 it was known as “Casual Fridays.”  Nowadays in Hawaii, aloha apparel is worn as business wear any day of the week. Popularity of Aloha Wear in the United States can be partially attributed to the use by celebrities and politicians such as:  President Harry S. Truman, Jay-Z, Jimmy Buffett, Richard Lewis, Arthur Godfrey, and Elvis Presley who wore one for the cover of his “Blue Hawaii” soundtrack.

Aloha shirts are a perfect fit for anyone and everyone.  And here at the Custom Hawaiian Shirt Shop, we specialize in Custom Hawaiian Shirts for companies, clubs, fraternities, schools and endless other organizations.   We would enjoy making a Custom Hawaiian Shirt for your group as well.  

Please call us today Toll Free at (800) 998-Ties (8437) for a free consultation and quote.  You’ll be glad you did!

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