I’ve just returned from Hawaii, and am trying to get used to these gray Portland skies. Here’s a little taste of the islands to spice up this dreary day.
Traditional Aloha shirts (known as Hawaiian shirts on the mainland) are usually adorned with traditional Hawaiian quilt designs, tapa designs, and simple floral patterns in more muted colors. The Aloha shirts manufactured for local Hawaiians are considered formal wear in business and government, and thus are regarded as equivalent to a shirt, coat and tie. These shirts often are printed on the interior, a style called “reverse print,” resulting in the muted color on the exterior.
Contemporary Aloha shirts are often brilliantly-colored with floral patterns or generic Polynesian motifs, and are worn as casual informal wear. They may have prints that don’t feature any traditional Hawaiian quilt or floral designs and instead may have elements such as automobiles, drinks, surf boards or other elements arranged in the same pattern as a traditional Aloha shirt. The modern Aloha shirt was created in the early 1930s by Chinese merchant Ellery Chun in Waikiki, when he began sewing brightly colored shirts for tourists out of old kimono fabrics he had leftover.