In the rabbit hole-laden mine field that is heritage fashion, you have your denim, sweatshirts, and jackets, but when the days get longer and the layers get lighter, there is one essential that takes the proverbial haupia (coconut cake): the Aloha shirt. Also nicknamed Hawaiian shirts, these silk, rayon works of billowy art are defined by their boxy cut, straight hem, and spread collar and in case you didn’t know, they’ve been around for a long long time and have featured countless patterns over the decades, most notably bird and flower motifs. Many brands, big and small produced them, from niche mom and pop shops to big box department stores. They used to be all the rage but their legacy has fallen to the wayside during the age of fast fashion.
So, if you’re having a tough time envisioning what an authentic vintage Aloha shirt even looks like, you aren’t alone. These shirts are pretty hard to come by, as are archives that display pages and pages of them. That’s why we are excited for Lightning Archives – Vintage Aloha Shirts, a book that features the very best vintage Hawaiian shirts out there for your viewing and research pleasure. Organized by Toyo Enterprise, which handles SUN SURF, and under the watchful eye of Mr. Yoshihiro Nakano, director of SUN SURF and aloha shirt researcher, this is your ticket to Aloha Nirvana, all you have to do is button up.
Available for $40 from Hinoya