It’s a sad day in SEBLand: Inventor of the Hawaiian shirt has died.

I declare today a National Day of Mourning as the inventor of one of my favorite shirt styles, Alfred Shaheen, has died at the age of 86:

As tourists from the US to Hawaii after World War II, many began to bring home colorful but cheesy looking shirts and sundresses that would be cause for much amusement among friends.

Shaheen began to change that in 1948 when he opened Shaheen’s of Honolulu and began designing, printing and producing “aloha” shirts, dresses and other ready-to-wear clothing of better quality.

Among those seen in Shaheen-designed shirts of that era was Elvis Presley, who wore one for the cover of his 1961 soundtrack album “Blue Hawaii.”

Such Shaheen originals now sell for more than £500

“Before Shaheen came along, there was no Hawaii garment industry. There were mom and pop stores but no real modern industry,” Linda Arthur, a professor of textiles and clothing at Washington State University said.

I loves me some Hawaiian shirts. Those and t-shirts comprise the majority of my wardrobe. OK so I’ll admit that until I saw this news story I didn’t even know someone had invented Hawaiian shirts, but it’s still a bummer to hear he’s passed on.

5 thoughts on “It’s a sad day in SEBLand: Inventor of the Hawaiian shirt has died.

  1. As a fellow lover of Hawaiian shirts (they’re so bad they’re good again), I too will be raising a glass in honor of Shaheen.

  2. I’ve been to Hawaii twice.  Bought up some great aloha shirts each time.

    I’m wondering if these grand garments are on the way out…?

    Ten years ago, the shops selling the shirts all had various images of Tom Selleck as Magnum P.I. wearing a bright aloha shirt.  Everyone seemed to wear them.

    This second trip of three weeks ago, the only people who seemed to be wearing aloha shirts were 1) Tourists (usually older) and 2) people in the serving tourists industry.

    My observations are hardly scientific, but I couldn’t spot any “normal” person just hangin’ out wearing an aloha shirt. 

    It makes me sad to speculate on this.  I think Hollywood needs to make “CSI: Honolulu” or something to revitalize the fashion.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.