The History of the Hawaiian Shirt

July 24, 2009 by  
Filed under Honolulu

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A modern Aloha shirt can be adorned with fanci...
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Also known as the Aloha shirt, the unique shirt widely associated with Hawaii and its laid-back atmosphere, it is not certain as to how the Hawaiian shirt came to be. Nevertheless, the shirt, with its iconic vibrant colors and somewhat dreamy designs of plants, the ocean, palm trees, etc., have always been unique to Hawaii. Various tales believe that the shirt designs originated from the tail-out shirts of the Philippines, others say it originated from the elegant kimono designs from Japan, while others say it came from the colorful floral prints from Tahiti. It is more certain that the shirts began to gain popularity during the pre-World War II era when a group of teenagers bout finely printed Kabe crepe material, imported from Japan, in the stores of. The young men had their mothers sew this beautiful fabric into shirts, and the Hawaiian Aloha shirt was born.

Early Aloha shirts often depicted the Orient, with colorful and somewhat mystical designs of pine and plum trees, which represented long life, fortune, and success. Shirts with tiger designs represented strength and courage, while bamboo designs represented strength and flexibility. Other designs include beautiful landscapes, temples, and Mount Fuji. Eventually, the beautiful designs provoked local artists to create their own original designs and sell their own unique Aloha shirts, making the shirt what it is today. Throughout history, celebrities such as Bing Crosby, Elvis Presley, and Duke Kahanamoku were known for wearing these beautiful shirts.