Do you own an Aloha shirt (commonly known as a Hawaiian shirt)? Although they are sometimes seen as a tourist symbol, these items of clothing have an interesting history and reasoning behind their unique style.
Honolulu was originally a very conservative area in regards to fashion. In the 1920s and ’30s immigrants from Japan, the Philippines and China settled in Hawaii, each bringing their own pieces of culture. From Japan and China came bright colored fabrics, and the un-tucked shirt style came from the Philippines. Combining these styles with the collared shirts of the United States, plantation workers began wearing Palaka shirts, the precursor to Aloha shirts that used bright colors in a checkerboard pattern.
In the mid- to late-1930s, business owners began making and selling “Hawaiian” shirts, using patterns that portrayed Hawaiian themes, such as Hula girls, pineapples and palm trees. Local residents and surfers began sporting the look, and eventually tourists and movie starts brought the style back to the mainland. When Hawaii became the 50th state in America in 1959, this brought even more tourists to spread the exposure of Aloha shirts.
Own your own part of Hawaiian history with vintage Hawaiian shirts from Chicago Gold Gallery! Maybe you have an old Aloha shirt hanging in the attic or cedar chest that you don’t want? We have been buying major buyer market makers of Aloha shirts and other collectibles since 1967!
Beanteacher, “Hawaiian Shirts – A Colorful History.”