|My rather subdued print designs for vacation shirts this year.|
Tuesday, October 21, 2014
The "Aloha Shirt" Story
It was an ordinary day. Going through my closet trying to pick a few of my Hawaiian shirts to take along on our vacation to ..... Hawaii. Didn’t buy most of the shirts in Hawaii, but ....... matter of fact, I don’t think I bought any of my Hawaiian shirts in Hawaii. So, why do I call them Hawaiian shirts?
I guess it’s because I always associate bright colored shirts with surfboards splattered across them or shirts with large brightly colored flowers and big green leaves as coming from Hawaii. Well, I did some investigating and found that the shirts that should be called Aloha Shirts. All began back in 1820 when missioniaries from New England arrived in Hawaii and the missionary women devised the holoku for the larger woman of the island. The long-sleeved, loose dress was meant to be worn in formal situations. Under it was devised a chemise mu’umu’u that wasn’t meant to be visible until the 1940s when Hawaiian prints were designed. The Aloha Shirt was born in the 1935 when shirtmaker Musa-Shiya used the term in one of his advertisements. He didn’t get the credit for the name though, since the following year Ellery Chun garnered the trademark “Aloha Shirt” as tourism began to grow in the islands known as Hawaii. After WWII brighter images with bolder patterns arrived. From 1945-55 Rayon shirts known as “Silkies” reigned. In 1962 Hawaii legislators approved wearing the Aloha Shirt during the summer months with “Aloha Friday” becoming a tradition for shirt attire on Fridays. Then in the late 1970s designs from a new Hawaiian culture came about. The designs became more subdued and became more acceptable for office attire. Today’s shirts feature a more cosmopolitan feel to them. My closet features a few with big bold prints, some that are silk with almost “Japanese” type designs on them and some subdued floral patterns. I told Carol that I would like to add one more shirt to my collection, but it had to be something very different before I would buy it. Well, I found just the shirt, but you’ll have to read about it tomorrow when I take you to the downtown Honolulu store called “Newt.” It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.