Aloha To The Hawaiian Shirt

Vintage Hawaiian Shirts

History Of The Hawaiian Shirt

Ever wondered who started the trend of the fabulous exotic print shirts?  No, it wasn’t Magnum or Dog the bounty hunter. I discovered the first Aloha shirts were sold in the 1930s in Waikiki and were made from kimono fabrics. The first tropical-print styles that we recognise today as the iconic Hawaiian shirt was made in Hawaii during the 1930s when clothing manufacturers began hiring artists to create hand-painted floral designs to be printed onto heavy silk. By the 1940s, the uniquely Hawaiian garment had been adopted in government uniforms across the islands. 

During the 1950s, manufacturers in other parts of the world began to copy the popular Tiki designs. making imitations of the famous Hawaiian style. In 1962 the Hawaiian Fashion Guild introduced Aloha Friday when local people are encouraged to wear their Hawaiian-print shirts. 

Celebrities Love Hawaiian Shirts

This international icon has been spotted ever since on well-known politicians, singers, and movie stars alike.

Vintage Hawaiian Shirt Hunting

Vintage Hawaiian Shirts

True fans of the Hawaiian shirt look out for a “Made in Hawaii” label to know they’re getting the real deal. Other things to search for in a quality original are perfect fabric matches on the pocket and wooden or coconut buttons. Though many companies have jumped on the Hawaiian shirt craze, the best Hawaiian shirts are still made in Hawaii to this day.

Earlier examples from the 1930s and 40s would have been made from Silk and Rayon rather than cotton or the synthetic blends of the 70s, 80s and 90s.  The earlier collars would have been a one piece Havana style or rever collar with a loop and button.

Hawaiian Shirt Ad

Countless tourists return from their tropical vacation wearing these iconic styles. The Hawaiian shirts exported to the mainland by companies in Hawaii are short-sleeved, button-down styles printed with beautiful and vibrant Hawaiian motifs. In Hawaii, you can also find muted styles and reverse prints worn by the locals as business attire.  They are always straight at the hemline as they are not designed to be tucked in. 

Here at Revival we always offer a selection of original vintage Hawaiian shirts plus complimentary retro styles which currently include these two styles popular for a Rockabilly look, sometimes worn open over a white T-shirt.

Tiki Style Shirts

 Trains Planes And Automobiles

In addition to the classic print of tropical hibiscus flowers, we favour Hawaiian-print shirts in unusual patterns incorporating surfboards, boats, aircraft, beach scenes and vintage cars.   

Hawaiian Shirt Patterns

Because these prints have been quite popular for nearly 70 years, it is not difficult for us to find wonderful vintage Hawaiian shirts.  Some are so unique collectors buy them to frame and admire like a piece of art. I came across a beautifully illustrated book, "The Aloha Shirt" by Dale Hope on all aspects of the Hawaiian Shirt.

These comfortable vibrant shirts bring an element of fun and a ray of sunshine no matter where you wear them.  Sometimes the butt of jokes, associated with dads on holiday but love or hate them the Hawaiian shirt is here to stay.

Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published