Hawaiian shirts are anything but new. They first got their start in the 1930s when clothing manufacturers decided to produce a cloth and design unique to Hawaii. The original popular shirts were printed on heavy silk and became popular as Hollywood stars wore them in both films and to events, such as movie premiers. Not everyone could afford heavy silk, however, and many high-quality shirts were printed in rayon and cotton as well. Because these shirts have been printed for over 70 years, there remains a large quantity of vintage Hawaiian shirts on the market.
Vintage Hawaiian shirts can be more expensive than modern-day styles, but they also can have a flair and quality not found today. Despite the fact that the vintage shirts can run the high end of several hundreds of mens t shirts dollars each, they continue to have a strong niche in the fashion world. Authors and clothing designers have studied the history and style of the shirts over the years. Today, information on vintage Hawaiian shirts can be found in books such as Thomas Steele’s “”The Hawaiian Shirt: Its Art and History,”” or Nancy Schiffer’s “”Hawaiian Shirt Designs.”” More recently, Dale Hope’s “”The Aloha Shirt: Spirit of the Islands”” is an extremely accurate detailing of the history of the Hawaiian shirt.
For anyone interested in purchasing vintage Hawaiian shirts, there are several avenues. Hawaiian dealers are the best sources, as they have the easiest access to locally made shirts. However, several online websites also sell vintage Hawaiian shirts.
Vintage Hawaiian shirts are beautiful pieces of artwork from the past that can be worn just as fashionably as any shirt made today.