History of Hawaii shirt

History of Hawaii shirt - L'Atelier

Let’s face the truth: there’s probably no garment polarizing more than the bright and colorful Hawaii or Aloha Shirt. Either you hate it or love it – there’s no in-between.

The history of Hawaii shirts dates back to the early 20th century when Hawaii still was not a US State but mostly run by American industry of all sorts. Immigrants from all over the world came to Hawaii, to start a new life on this beautiful island. As a matter of fact, it was Japanese workers who imported light kimono fabric for making shirts. The fabric was perfect for the hot and humid climate. This is the reason why Hawaii Shirts have initially been printed with artistic Japanese prints.

In the 20s and 30s the shirts were developed further and used as work shirts. The Hawaiians started to give them their unique look as we know it today by adding local prints in many colors. But it was not until the late 30s when the shirts were established as souvenirs for tourists and above all US sailormen. From then their triumph began.

Mass production of the shirts started in the mid to late 40s and always featured the same details: short sleeves, one chest pocket, and open collar. The original shirts were designed in a box fit with a straight hem because they were not meant to be tucked into trousers.

In the 1960s Hawaii Shirts were widely used and eventually became official government attire in Hawaii. With initiatives as „Operation Liberation“ and „Aloha Friday“ Hawaii shirts got promoted in all sorts of jobs to be worn as formal attire. Luckily „Aloha Friday“ was not only limited to the island of Hawaii. It quickly spread from California throughout the world and became a synonym for „Casual Friday“ the standing expression. By the way: the well-known expression “Thank god it’s Friday“ we all have said many many times can be traced back to this movement.

History class is over now – we hope you enjoy your authentic Pike Brothers Hawaii Shirt with these little insights even more!

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