The most colorful and complete book published on the most enduring souvenir ever invented: the Hawaiian shirt.

Beautifully illustrated with hundreds of images, this book recounts the colorful stories behind these marvelous shirts: as cultural icons, evocative of the mystery and the allure of the islands, capturing the vibe of the watermen culture and lifestyle — casual, relaxed, and fun. Valued by professional collectors and by millions of vacationers and fashionistos, these shirts are enjoying a fashion revival.

Drawing from hundreds of interviews, newspaper and magazine archives, and personal memorabilia, the author evokes the world of the designers, seamstresses, manufacturers, and retailers who created the industry and nurtured it from its single-sewing-machine-shop beginnings to an enterprise of international scope and importance and its revival today.

The Aloha Shirt is both a dazzling, fun-to-browse art book, and a fascinating chronicle of the world’s love affair with Hawaii.

Hawaii, awash in romance, marbled by different cultures, saturated with beauty, and compelling in contrasts, gave birth, over fifty years ago, to the renowned Aloha shirt. There is today probably no better known garment in the world that captures a land’s “spirit of place.” For half a century, the Aloha shirt has been Hawaii’s most enduring and visible greeter and ambassador - like a lei, the Aloha shirt is worn as a statement of one’s love for, and connection to, a most special place.
— Tommy Holmes
This volume includes everything an enthusiast would want to know about this classic garment: history, designers, textile print-makers, manufacturers, down to buttons and labels. Photographs of garments and designs are stunning and included are many, many paper memorabilia and biographies of early Hawaiian textile designers.
The Aloha Shirt: Spirit Of The Islands
115.00

*Book is now out of print, but signed copies are available.

Overview

The Aloha Shirt provides a stunning pictorial history of the evolution of the Hawaiian shirt as an icon of relaxation, casual dress, and the allure of life in the Islands. With over 400 images of Aloha shirts, Hawaiian motifs, labels, and rare historical photographs, The Aloha Shirt features images and insights never before presented. A special feature of the book is the gallery of shirts, which shows the best collection ever assembled of rare and valuable shirts currently owned by private collectors. The colorful graphics are accompanied by a history spanning the 70 years of Aloha shirts, and drawing on dozens of interviews with industry pioneers, artists, retailers, and collectors. The book covers cultural influences on the Aloha shirt; tailors, seamstresses, designers, and celebrities who have popularized them; fabrics and printing processes; and invaluable information about Aloha shirts as collectibles.

 

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal

Although the exact origins of the Aloha shirt, a.k.a. the Hawaiian shirt, are not certain, there is no disputing its impact on men's fashions or its role as the quintessential symbol of island life. Hope, a man with a lifetime of experience in the Hawaiian garment trade and the creative director of a major Hawaiian sportswear company, here explores the history and folklore associated with this unique art form. The author includes information on major designers, manufacturers, retailers, and collectors and discusses the fabrics that have typically been used to make the shirts as well as such details as types of buttons, design motifs, and manufacturers' labels. The more than 700 illustrations that depict many aspects of both Hawaiian costuming and the shirt's history are truly impressive. During the shirt's 20-year heyday, celebrity devotees, such as John Barrymore, Bing Crosby, Douglas Fairbanks, and Elvis Presley, helped fan the "Hawaiiana" flame. Judging by this book, that fascination continues to this day.

--Margarete Gross, Chicago P.L. Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.

 

You don't have to be Hawaiian to love Hawaiian shirts. You don't even have to wear one to enjoy ''The Aloha Shirt: Spirit of the Islands. Dale Hope and Gregory Tozian write, ''Aloha puts into one word the warm sense of greeting, love and playfulness for which Hawaii is well known,'' a spirit evoked through the tropical colors and Polynesian patterns emblazoned on the classic Hawaiian or Aloha shirt. It began as a novelty souvenir, selling for 95 cents during the early 1930's, when Hawaii was emerging as a tourist paradise. Soon the shirt grew into a major industry with its own master textile designers and printmakers. Profusely illustrated with photographs, drawings, advertisements, tags and labels, the book is a history of the shirt's designers and manufacturers. The illustrations are delightful. Film posters and record covers feature celebrity poster boys like Elvis Presley, Bing Crosby (who lent his name to a shirt label) and Montgomery Clift, who in the 1953 movie ''From Here to Eternity'' takes a fatal bullet in his lovely Aloha. There is also a section on the varieties of coconut buttons sewn onto vintage garments. But the real treat is reproductions of the shirts themselves, more than 100 of them, spread out like wallpaper swatches, with lyrical, weird or kitschy designs like palm trees, sailboats, flying fish, surfboards, exploding volcanoes, hula girls and night-blooming cereus patterns. One favorite, from 1959, is the ''Okole Maluna'' or ''Bottoms Up.'' 

-- Steven Heller

 

From The Critics

Palm trees stand among tropical grass shacks. Pineapples, sugarcane, and a lone star fish are patterned next to an outrigger canoe and a warrior. Bungalows and huts are bordered by groves of palm trees. Coconut buttons clasp the Hawaiian motifs of the Aloha shirts. Bing Crosby wore them as well as Arthur Godfrey, Harry Truman, Dwight Eisenhower, and Walt Disney.

"In a sense, Aloha shirts put Hawaii on the map," says fabric designer "Keoni" Meigs, one of the many flamboyant designers in the Golden Age of Aloha shirts from the 1930s through the 1950s.

In The Aloha Shirt: Spirit of the Islands Dale Hope discusses designs, textiles, collectors, printmakers, tailor shops, factory pioneers, labels and buttons, and celebrities and their shirts.

This is an historic kaleidoscope of kinetic shirt facts.

The Aloha Shirt provides a stunning pictorial history of the evolution of the Hawaiian shirt as an icon of relaxation, casual dress, and the allure of life in the Islands. With over 400 images of Aloha shirts, Hawaiian motifs, labels, and rare historical photographs, The Aloha Shirt features images and insights never before presented. A special feature of the book is the gallery of shirts, which shows the best collection ever assembled of rare and valuable shirts currently owned by private collectors.

The Japanese edition of his book is based on the American original, published in 2000, but includes newly discovered facts and visuals and also tells the story of the “Pataloha” shirt, produced by outdoor clothing brand “Patagonia”‘s Summer Ocean line, of which the author was director. The book details the past and present of the Aloha Shirt by means of over 700 images of collectable shirts, hundreds of interviews, old newspaper and magazine articles, and valuable personal records.
— Masayuki Ozawa

$115 (signed copy) - includes domestic U.S. shipping only

$135 (signed copy) - includes domestic U.S. shipping only