Based on the vibrant and textured award-winning book by Dale Hope, The Aloha Shirt: Spirit of the Islands is a rich, storied collection about a unique time and place. This is the history of the Aloha Shirt, not only in Hawaii, but throughout universal culture, from its serendipitous and much debated creation, to its place today as an icon for the free and indepen-dent spirit in all of us.
The Aloha Shirt is the Ambassador of Aloha; it is the story of the adventure and romance of Hawaii for the past seventy years. These colorful, magical shirts had supporting roles to play in the modern day history of the islands. During World War II, out of the darkness of Pearl Harbor, Aloha Shirts were the prized gifts servicemen brought home for their wives, friends, and families. They were worn by Presidents and royalty, and made famous by the biggest movie stars in Hollywood.
Just as the spirit of the hippie generation was defined by denim, the disco generation defined by its John Travolta white polyester suit, and the wild ride of the early 80s by Bo Derek and her corn-row braids, the Aloha Shirt conveys a wealth of attitude. In the turbulent 60s, they became a symbol for, if not a surfer’s life, then a surfer’s kick-back style.
From the charm of the coconut buttons to the wild, fanciful colors to the enchanting scenes of island life, the authentic Aloha Shirt can be considered a work of art in its ability to imitate life and elicit emotion.
Dale Hope grew up running between school, surfing, and his father’s garment manufacturing business, choosing the aloha shirt division as his own when he later joined the company. His warm memories of the people involved in the early days of the industry led him to write and design The Aloha Shirt: Spirit Of The Islands. Widely recognized as an authority on aloha shirts, he consults with curators and historians around the world. Dale says he has too many favorite shirts to name just one. “Aloha shirts are like old friends. You want to keep and cherish them, along with the memories that go with them.”