For over half a century, the Aloha shirt has been Hawaii’s most enduring and visible greeter and ambassador. Like a flower lei, the Aloha shirt is worn as a statement of one’s love for, and connection to, a most special place.
I find it quite amazing that a piece of clothing – a very simple shirt with vivid patterns or pictures and, if you’re lucky, coconut shell buttons – can have more lore, history and anecdotes surrounding it than many a small country. The roots of the Aloha shirt date back to the early 1930s and to the famed surfer, Olympic gold-medal swimmer, King Kamehameha descendant and “Ambassador of Aloha”, Duke Kahanamoku. Local beach boys of the day, looking for something unique to wear, decided to have sport shirts made from colorful Japanese kimono material.
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