The Lure of Hawaiian Shirts

By Randy Redmon

Although the actual origin of this colorful shirt is kind of hard to find, the aloha shirt first appeared in Hawaii sometime between 1920 and 1930. Japanese women started making shirts from the same fabric that they used to make kimonos. The shirts started to get very popular with tourists in Hawaii at the time, but they really started taking off when they hit the mainland in about 1931.

In the 1930s, America was going through some pretty harsh times, a lot of folks were out of work, others struggled just to make ends meet. With hardship and anxiety riddling the country, people craved something happy – enter the Hawaiian shirt! The shirt became super en vogue, which seems a bit odd, because this was also when the superhero emerged. The Hawaiian shirt seemed to be in sharp contrast to the superhero mentality, but that didn’t seem to affect the explosive popularity of the flowery garment.

You have to be careful, though, these shirts can be addicting – some people have five or six of them in their closets. The shirt just seems to bring you back to a happier time, a warmer time. Hawaii can be everywhere, anywhere, even here in Huatulco! It is so fun to see peoples’ faces when they climb our spiral staircase to the second floor where our array of vintage Hawaiian shirts is displayed. You can’t help but have a smile on your face when you see these colorful gems.

Randy Redmon runs the Huatulco Surf Co., located in Tangolunda, Huatulco.