Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Sad News: Inventor of the Hawaiian shirt dies

You'd be forgiven for never hearing of designer Alfred Shaheen.

Yet he inspired one of the most colourful, amusing and unforgettable styles of fashion ever known - the Hawaiian shirt. Sadly the pioneering textile manufacturer has died at age 86, his family have confirmed.
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."
Living in Maine most of my adult life, we did not have frequent occasion to don a Hawaiian shirt. But I like them just the same.

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