Book Review: The Aloha Shirt by Dale Hope

Aloha Shirt BookDale Hope’s love letter to the aloha shirt can be found in the updated and revised edition of The Aloha Shirt: Spirit of the Islands released by Patagonia. 385 pages are filled with stories and imagery of the beautiful patterns and celebrated history of the iconic shirt. Surf legend Gerry Lopez  introduces the book with his own connections to the aloha shirt and offers us a bit of the history. Lopez writes, “Dale’s meticulously researched book will reveal not only a rich history, but will also serve to stimulate the reader’s own ongoing immersion into the spirit of aloha.” The book takes us further by highlighting the pattern makers and tailors who pave the road for this fashion trend. With literally hundred of images, historic documents, and black-and-white photographs, not only do we learn about the aloha shirt but the history of the Hawaiian islands as well.

For example, did you know:

  • That Aloha Fridays originated in 1966, the Hawai’i Fashion guild convinced the local businesses to dress down on the last day of the work week?
  • Duke Kahanamoku had his own line of aloha shirts and may have been responsible for the straight cut along the bottom of the shirt, allowing people to wear the shirts untucked without the tails hanging down.
  • Hollywood loves the aloha shirt, and it has been featured on and actors and singers throughout the decades, such as Elvis, Bing Crosby, Montgomery Clift, Tom Selleck, Sean Penn, and George Clooney.
  • Rell Sun designed the Pataloha shirt for Patagonia in 1993.

Dale Hope writes in the Prologue: “This history of such a marvelous cultural icon, so evocative of the spirit of its home, is woven with the mystery and allure of Hawai’i and the stories of those who have lived there.”

This book is a treasure for anyone who loves Hawaii and the lifestyle and fashion that come from such an enchanted place.  Purchase your copy here.

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