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Bess Press - The Aloha Shirt: Spirit of the Islands

Serving as one of Hawaiʻi’s most famous ambassadors for 75+ years, the Hawaiian shirt—aka Aloha shirt—is more popular than ever. From California to Tokyo, hundreds of manufacturers are turning out modern-day shirts costing from $15 to $100. Collectors on eBay and at New York auction houses are paying thousands of dollars for a single shirt that cost less than a dollar in 1935. Now a half-billion-dollar-a-year industry, the Aloha shirt holds its legacy as a palpable symbol of Hawaiʻi’s “Aloha Spirit.”

Second-generation Aloha shirt maker Dale Hope grew up during the era when it came to be recognized as a spiritual badge. Having spent his career devoted to the Hawaiian shirt, Hope is the perfect guy to share its colorful story. With this fully updated edition of The Aloha Shirt: Spirit of the Islands (June 2016), the complete book is now the most enduring souvenir ever invented. Hope’s authoritative book recounts the colorful stories behind these marvelous shirts: as cultural icons, evocative of the mystery and the allure of the islands, capturing the vibe of the waterman culture and lifestyle—casual, relaxed, and fun.

Hope draws from interviews, newspaper and magazine archives, and personal memorabilia to trace the splashy history of Hawaiian shirts from their beginnings right after the Great Depression to today, when they are enjoying a revival.

Highlighting the innovative artists, risk-taking manufacturers and silky fabrics behind the success of the world’s most famous shirt, The Aloha Shirt is lavishly illustrated with hundreds of full color images, vintage black-and-white photos, and priceless examples of period “Hawaiiana.”


  • By Dale Hope
  • Introduction by Gerry Lopez
  • Published by Patagonia
  • 240 pages, color
  • Cloth hardcover

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