Don’t Call it a Comeback
Hawaiian shirts, holiday shirts, Aloha shirts, souvenir shirts – call them what you want, but this season you can run but you can’t hide from these short sleeve shirts made of airy fabric with floral, tropical or graphic print, mostly paired with a lapel collar. Even though elderly summer tourists of all origins have discredited this type of shirt a little by sporting it in combination with denim or twill shorts, trekking sandals or boat shoes, they are making a big comeback these days. Actually “don’t call it a comeback” because in the course of the last decades they have been proudly worn by many (style) icons and stars and thus have been celebrated as the epitome of casualness and individuality and of course, holiday mood.
It all started – you might have guessed it – in Hawaii at the beginning of the 20th century, when a tailor of Japanese origin (probably inspired by the Kariyushi shirts from Okinawa) came up with the idea of sewing short-sleeved shirts using old kimono fabrics. In fact, it is reported that a few decades earlier there had been colorful, lightweight shirts that replaced formal clothing at high temperatures in Hawaii and the Polynesian Islands. Later on sleeves were shortened, a lapel collar was added and airy cotton fabrics, linen and silk blends were used.
In the following years printing methods and patterns were perfected and the classic traditional Hawaiian shirt was born in the 1930s. From then until today a bazillion different patterns and print designs were created, from tropical or floral to modern or abstract graphics. An infinite number of colors and color combinations were used to create these textile artworks. If you think about what was commonly worn at the time of their origin, these shirts were really bold statement pieces and an expression of individuality against the monotonous clothing culture. After air travel was introduced to common tourism in the 1950s, Hawaiian shirts spread all over the world and were proudly worn by film stars, musicians, (style) icons and yes, also tourists and yacht owners.
And that’s why we love these shirts – they are like a manifesto for relaxation, openness, individuality. And the reason that they are now popular and omnipresent in the streetwear world is quite obvious: Casualness, creativity, character, daring style – these attributes fit both streetwear and vacation shirts. Apart from all that historical and cultural phenomenon, they’re simply pleasantly airy, relaxed and the right choice when it gets tropically hot in the city.
In the unlikely event that our rambling of praise hasn’t convinced you yet – you would never dare to doubt the style expertise of Tony Soprano, Elvis Presley, Magnum, Tony Montana a.k.a. Scarface, Hunter S. Thompson or Bill Murray, would you?
Discover more vacation shirts online at HHV:www.hhv.de/shop/en/vacation-shirts/