Floral and tropical printed attire is a popular trend in Hawaii. You see businessmen in downtown Honolulu sporting the fabric along with first time Hawaii visitors, those in the service industry and even locals wear the iconic style. It’s a benchmark of Hawaii tradition. From muu muus to hibiscus flowers, aloha logo wear symbolizes different things to different people. But for many, it symbolizes relaxation, a laid-back lifestyle and an appreciation for the tropical aloha spirit. From board shorts to collared tees to sundresses, aloha logo wear seems to be a classic fashion that never goes out of style.
Nowadays we’re seeing twists on the classic aloha wear. Catch phrases like ‘HI’ and ‘Lucky We Live Hawaii’ have been turned into trends for shirts, bags and beach towels and are becoming increasingly popular to spot in stores throughout Hawaii. A vintage piece of aloha fabric will be made into a pocket for a simple black t-shirt, giving a subtle pop of aloha for men. Tropical photographs are being transposed onto fabrics for shirts and handbags and Hawaii photographers and artists like Clark Little and Heather Brown are making their presence widely known.
But these fashion pieces are unique to the islands, meaning you can typically only find them here. There is an exclusivity about these trends that help make them rare, special and unique, adding to the lure and trend of anything Hawaii related. The Aloha State is also becoming more of a trendsetter for fashion these days, whereas before, clothing always seemed one season too late. Now trends like long pareo (sarong) dresses, vintage aloha fabric, slippers and surf wear are setting the bar for spring and summer fashion in places like California and Florida.
One Hawaii-based brand that has gained national attention is Local Motion. Specializing in laid-back surf wear, Local Motion was founded in 1977 and has provided some of the best premium threads optimizing both comfort and style.
Another chain store that has become popular in Hawaii is Town & Country, otherwise known as T&C. Representing both the city and natural aspects of the islands, T&C is a blend of aloha and surf wear for both men and women. Also a popular surfboard manufacturer, this brand is widely recognized by locals in the islands and is making a national mark by all the visitors who bring the brand back home.
Crazy Shirts is another company that visitors went crazy for in Hawaii. Specializing in humorous and high quality shirts since 1964, Crazy Shirts is homegrown from Honolulu and keeps quality, style, and light-hearted nature front and center. You’re bound to see many people sporting Crazy Shirts when you’re in Hawaii, both tourists and locals alike!
You’ll probably see ‘ALOHA’ written upside down on t-shirts too, although it might be hard to recognize at first. Known as VH07V, Brand owner Edward Sugimoto says the purpose behind the brand is to remind people to live aloha. “When you look down at your heart you see ALOHA, so it reminds us every day to keep aloha in our hearts.” Hawaii designers are starting to think outside the box when it comes to catchy phrases and styles for their brand. Another popular motto is ‘Live Aloha.’
‘Lucky We Live Hawaii’ is one more slogan that gained popularity not too long ago, and has been trademarked by a designer on Kauai. Ashley Johnston makes t-shirts, bags, map prints of each of the islands and a variety of other specialty items, which can be found at boutique stores on Oahu, Kauai, Maui and the Big Island. With a decidedly Hawaii-theme, Lucky We Live Hawaii can be found on etsy, for all those wanting a piece of the islands when they’re away.
Hawaii-based bathing suit lines include higher-end brands like Mikoh swimwear, (which is designed by pro surfer Kelly Slater’s girlfriend and her sister), Acacia, (designed by the late Andy Iron’s wife and business partner), San Lorenzo Bikinis, (a local Brazilian bikini chain store in Hawaii) and Issa de Mar (created by North Shore Oahu surfer girls).
Another big trend in Hawaii is tropical, Hawaii scenic photos being transposed onto fabrics in the form of shirts, surf shorts and bags. It’s a whole new form of design for clothing and accessories, and photographers are becoming noticed through trends like Samudra bags, Roxy and Billabong clothing designs and Hurley board shorts.
Hawaii is a trend in itself, so it’s no wonder why so many fashion statements have come out of these islands. People seek to represent these styles to remind them of their tropical vacation or of the lifestyle they live here in Hawaii. It’s a way to reminisce and/or be grateful, because Hawaii is undeniably a wonderful place to find yourself.
Posted by: Bruce Fisher