Long Live The Printed Shirt

10 Minute Read There’s no more jovial shirt to have in your locker than a printed one.
Sidney Poitier on the set of the movie 'Lilies of the Field' for which he won the Academy Award for best actor, in Tuscon, Arizona. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

Hawaiian shirts, or ‘Aloha shirts’ as they’re officially known, remarkably do not have an explicit and deep-rooted Hawaiian origin. The shirt has a murky provenance, but compiles numerous myths of attribution. It is shrouded in complexity as it seems the shirt was inadvertently created as a consequence of shirts developed by a cross-section of cultures in Hawaii. As early as the late 1860s, US businessmen arrived in droves to buy up Hawaii’s fertile lands and turn them into plantations. Workers from Portugal, China, Korea, Japan and the Philippines were parachuted in and each brought with them their own cultural identities and styles.

The inception of the aloha shirt was not an instant discovery. People of different cultures share basic concepts, but view them from different angles and perspectives. With this in mind the aloha shirt was slowly nurtured through the growing immigrant communities in Hawaii, where they each brought their own fabrics, whilst also exhibiting their own ancestral ceremonial dress. It is a comparable journey to the theories behind how football was invented. It has several traces, dating back to ancient times and several cultures such as in China where the game of Cuju involved the kicking of a ball into the net. Dating back to the 13th century, during the Yuan Dynasty, Cuju is a very similar example of a culture adapting a concept - leading to it evolving into one conception, which is what transpired with football. In 1863 the codifications of laws were defined in the UK for it to become an official sport.


    Freddie Anderson


    June 2022


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