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Mainland Hawaii has long been seen as a haven for stressed-out Americans. Hawaiian music was all the rage during World War I, as America was ready to enter the battle. Hawaiian records outsold all other genres in 1916, and ukuleles were so common in college dorms and upper-crust nightclubs that the New York Tribune published a full-page image of a hypothetical “Ukulele Square, the Hawaiian Quarter of New York.” During the Great Depression, Americans turned their attention to Hawaii once more, adopting another aspect of Hawaiian culture: the aloha shirt.
The Hawaiian Shirt’s Background – Halloween Headless Horseman Full Printing Hawaiian Shirt Funny Hawaiian Beach Gift Casual Shirt
The aloha shirt first developed in Hawaii in the 1920s or 1930s, when local Japanese women adapted kimono cloth for use in men’s shirting, however its exact beginnings are lost to history. When the shirts were introduced to the mainland in the mid-1930s, they gained greater economic success.
At the time, America was beset by poverty and fear, with many men out of work and others fighting to keep their breadwinner position. Perhaps as a result, hyper-manliness became fashionable—popularity bodybuilding’s increased, and Superman appeared on the scene.
It may be counterintuitive that males would enjoy a clothing with such a feminine appeal. One reason men adopted a garment otherwise suited to their sisters’ closet was that rich, famous men wore it. Visitors to Hawaii in the 1930s were invariably wealthy, and before long, aloha shirts were being sold by celebrities whom everyday Americans sought to emulate.
The Los Angeles Times mocked in 1936, “You’d better order two or three because it’s a surety your daughter, sister, wife, or even mother will want this bright-colored garment as soon as she sees it.” This did not deter guys from purchasing. Aloha shirts were raking in about $11 million per year (in today’s money) by 1940.
Rich, prominent men wore it, which was one of the reasons men chose a clothing that was otherwise appropriate to their sisters’ closet. Visitors to Hawaii in the 1930s were almost always wealthy, and aloha shirts were soon being sold by celebrities who wanted to be like them.
From three-time Olympic swimmer and surfing pioneer Duke Kahanamoku to singer Bing Crosby, American icons were lending their names to certain businesses. According to Dale Hope, a historian and author of The Aloha Shirt: Spirit of the Islands, those endorsements “had a major effect on people buying those shirts.” It didn’t matter if it was feminine if you could dress like a man who hadn’t been affected by the Depression: you looked like someone who didn’t have to worry about his manly credentials.
When the garment arrived in stores in the Lower 48, any day labourer could get what had previously required an extravagant trip for just a dollar. With its representations of hula dancers and luaus—”symbol[s] of the comfortable, gay, and picturesque,” as one journalist put it in 1939—a man in an aloha shirt could pass for a carefree swell.
With the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, the image of Hawaii as a peaceful paradise was destroyed, and aloha shirt producers, like others in the textile sector, switched to providing the war effort.
When production resumed, the popular Japanese-influenced designs—featuring cherry blossoms and shrines—were briefly replaced by designs that highlighted Hawaii’s unique culture. Returning service members from the Pacific made the characteristic clothing more popular than ever.
The shirt had become genuinely widespread by the 1960s. Aloha Fridays were a staple of a certain type of business, and everyone seemed to wear one, from Elvis to the decidedly unhip Richard Nixon. It slipped into the realm of goofy suburban-dad-wear over time, probably inexorably.
Yet, in only the last five years, fashion magazines have predicted a revival, and high-end designers like Gucci are elevating the aloha shirt to new heights with prints inspired by Japanese themes popular in the early days of the garment. Meanwhile, some of Hawaii’s old guard shirtmakers are still going strong.
Kahala, which was one of the first manufacturers to produce aloha shirts in 1936, has been digging through its archives to recreate designs from the 1930s, including ones popularised by Duke Kahanamoku. “People are searching for some brightness, colour, and excitement in their lives,” says Kahala’s general manager, Jason Morgan. “I believe that now, more than ever, that is required. “I think an aloha shirt has a lot of power if it can make someone’s day better.”
Some details about our product
- 100% kate silk
- Casual button-down shirts /Soft acceptable Regular fit/Breathable/Good Quality/Men designer shirts /Good Choice for Summer/men designer shirts Shirts with Hawaiian designs
- Printing techniques: Dye-sublimation printing
- Washing instructions: Machine wash cold, only non-chlorine bleach when necessary, hang dry, cool iron on reverse side, or dry clean
- Time to produce: 3-6 business days
- Because the size is manually measured, please allow for a 1-3 cm fluctuation in dimension. The actual color of the item may differ somewhat from the visual depictions due to differences in monitors and lighting effects.
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