There are a few ways to tell if you’re looking at an authentic, high-quality aloha shirt. If the pockets match the pattern, that’s a good sign, but it’s not everything. Much of understanding an aloha shirt is about paying attention to what is on the shirt itself. It’s about looking at the pattern to see the story it tells.
Articles of Interest is a show about what we wear; a six-part series within 99% Invisible, looking at clothing. Episodes will be released on Tuesdays and Fridays from September 25th through October 12th.
For Hawaiian Shirts, Avery Trufelman spoke with her friend Sarah Burke; Jason Morgan, the general manager of Kahala Sportswear; Zita Cup Choy, historian of the Iolani Palace; DeSoto Brown, historian at the Bishop Museum; Josh Feldman, CEO of Tori Richard; Tracey Panek, historian at Levi Strauss and Company; Deirdre Clemente, historian of 20th century clothing and fashion and author of the book Dress Casual.
As a home sewist I have been thinking about the intersection between art, fashion and craft (as in craftsmanship not crafty). This is a topic that is rarely discussed outside the home sewing and knitting communities and I think it is important that more people participate in this non-shallow way of discussing clothes! And I am so happy that you are doing just that, Avery. Thanks for this excellent series.
Please make this a regular podcast on its own. My friends and I were discussing the episode on tartans at the office when someone we seldom talk to walked over and asked “are you all listening to ‘Articles of Interest?'” It seems that there are a lot of us out there listening and we all want more! Thank you for your efforts thus far, we are looking forward to the last two episodes.
I listened to this episode today while I was driving down towards Hilo, on the Big Island. I’ve been avoiding buying a vintage Avanti shirt at a shop in town near where I’m staying because it’s 80 dollars, and also, I already have quite a collection of Aloha shirts taking up space in my home.
I loved listening, hearing the backstory behind Aloha Fridays — I DID NOT KNOW! — but also, a few years ago I saw an exhibit of the work of designer Alfred Shaheen and now I find myself wondering if his designs were Aloha wear or resort wear? I’m that pedantic listener who was all, “WHAT ABOUT ALFRED SHAHEEN?!” When Roman says “Hey nerds…” he’s totally talking to me, and Aloha shirts happen to be a thing I’m nerdy about.
But also, did I mention that I really loved this episode? Because I DID. And I listened to it in Hawaii, which made it all the more special.
Thank you, as always for your excellent work.
I lived in Hawaii for 5 years (back on the mainland now) and own about 30 beloved aloha shirts from my time there. You did a terrific job with this episode, covering fashion, history, and culture. I worked in a white collar job there and tasteful aloha shirts were my daily outfit. Thanks again, I enjoyed this episode immensely.
Great series. Thank you LEVIS Dockers for convincing corporate America to adopt business casual nationally.
I also thought the Hawaiian Shirt Episode story end song should have been”
While I usually don’t have an interest in fashion, I have been finding this series fascinating.
Who sings the spoken word song at the end of the episode? Lyrics are “a pocket, a piece of paper, words from yesterday, there’s a portrait painted on the things we love.”
I couldn’t find any hits searching the words or by looking up Rhae Royal.
Full song is now embedded on 99pi.org/aoi !
For anyone else from the future who is readings this, the piece is by Sasami Ashworth (of course, you can see that on the page linked by 99pi) and is also available on soundcloud at https://soundcloud.com/hirres/sasami-ashworth-portrait and is called, you guessed it, “Portrait”.
Aloha! Thank you so much for this episode; the history behind aloha shirts is absolutely fascinating. Do you know the name, or a reference, to the official state resolution that was passed in 1967?