Hawaiian Influences on western apparel
At the same
time Western missionaries were changing Hawaiian women's dress, the men's
dress was changing as well. The palaka, a solid color work
shirt adopted by early Hawaiian plantation workers, was the forerunner
of the aloha shirt. These early shirts were soon decorated with the
traditional Hawaiian design motifs - formerly used on their tapa
cloth wraps. Designs on tapa cloth were in geometric designs in brilliant
colors from natural dye sources and were hand painted or stenciled on the
cloth (Steele, 1984).
late 1920s, tourism came to the islands with the opening of the Royal Hawaiian
Hotel on Waikiki Beach. Shirts became popular as 'exotic' souvenirs.
The term "Aloha shirt" was coined to describe these shirts by a local Hawaiian
shirt maker in 1936. By the mid-30s production of these shirts was
a thriving industry. World War II halted this production somewhat;
however, after the war the business boomed. This was due to the increased
attention Hawaii received because of Pearl Harbor, the many servicemen
visiting the military installations there, and from the film industry.
Movies filmed in Hawaii included From Here to Eternity (1954) and
Blue Hawaii (1963), among others (Steele, 1984).
This is a Traditional Hawaiian Shirt with authentic coconut buttons.
It has a matched patch pocket which does not break the print, showing its
high quality construction. 55% Cotton/45% Rayon. Made in Hawaii.
Steele, H. T. (1984).
Hawaiian Shirt - Its Art and History. New York: Abbeville
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Copyright Belinda T. Orzada, University of Delaware, 1998.All rights reserved.