Mention Hawaii and chances are golden sands, world class surfing and, of course, the colourful aloha shirt spring to mind. Created in Hawaii in the thirties when a Chinese merchant made shirts from old kimono cloth, the aloha (a Hawaiian word for ‘peace’ although today the word is more widely used to mean ‘hello’) shirt first shot to fame in the fifties, after Elvis wore one on his Blue Hawaii album cover.
Fast forward to 2013 and the floral favourite is enjoying a comeback thanks to fashion houses Prada, Peter Pilotto, Stella McCartney and Ricardo Tisci – all of whom have championed the summery shirt in recent catwalk collections.The shirt’s resurgence in popularity is undoubtedly good news for the Pacific Ocean islands, for the bright textiles have long been Hawaii’s major export product.
Looking for an authentic aloha shirt? Head to Hilo Hattie which has been voted the “Best Place for Hawaiian Fashions” by Hawaiian residents (always a good sign) for the last eight years. There are eight stores on Oahu, Maui, Kauai and the Big Island, but at Hilo Hattie’s Honolulu flagship store (700 North Nimitz Highway) tourists can also have their picture taken in front of the world’s second largest Hawaiian Aloha Shirt! The perfectly patterned shirt, which measures 168 inches around the chest, 161 inches at the waist and more than 60 inches around the neck, was made from 26 yards of fabric, using Koa wood beverage coasters as the buttons! According to the company, 13 sumo wrestlers can be fitted for the amount of fabric required to make the shirt.
Check out the picture of Kaye and the celebrated shirt, taken at this year’s U.S. Travel Association’s IPW – the travel industry’s premier international marketplace and the largest generator of travel to the U.S – below!