The Aloha shirt can be worn at a party or at the beach but activist are calling for more support for locally made Hawaiian shirts as fashion labels push their own patterns and designs.
“I just feel like if you want to wear one, buy Hawaiian, because then you’re actively…giving business to Hawaiian people,” said podcaster and activist Anuhea Nihipali.
“I kind of just I started out with a tweet that said, like, rich people will buy literally the most ugly $1,000 Gucci shirt or designer shirt rather than supporting a Hawaiian brand.”
The history of the shirt has been hotly contested, as its origins is not clear.
Washington State University Emeritus Professor Linda Arthur Bradley said the concept of Aloha shirt comes from a combination of different cultures.
“You have the Western styled shape of the of the garment… the Japanese fabric… Chinese tailors, you got the Filipino way of wearing a shirt, and then the last part is the development of Hawaiian prints.
“Put that all together and you have the creation of the Aloha shirt,” she said.
Local businesses Sig Zane aims to educate and share what they knew about their culture through their clothing.
It’s creative director Kuha’o Zane said it’s great that Aloha shirts are being designed by big luxury brands too because it gives the shirt a bigger platform.
“I think it’s important for them to be able to reach out to some of these smaller designers and maybe offer a collaboration, or even offer an opportunity to be able to share some of these artists, stories on their larger platform,” he said.