January 05, 2009

Truly A Sad Day In The World Of Awesome Fashion

Alfred Shaheen, the creator of the Hawaiian shirt, has said "Aloha" to this mortal coil.

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.

By 1959, the year Hawaii became a state, he had more than 400 employees working for him and was grossing more than $4 million a year as the major player in the islands' garment industry.

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