Hawaiian shirts have been around for a long time, dating all the way back to the 1930s. The first Aloha shirts featured both Oriental and Hawaiian designs with beautiful radiant colors with fine detail on silk or rayon fabric. Real vintage shirts are actual shirts from the 30s and 40s and can be very expensive with some reaching values over $2,000. These shirts are priced out of range for the most serious Aloha shirt connoisseurs and collectors. For the vast majority of people, vintage inspired or retro are far more obtainable.
Retro Hawaiian shirts are inspired by original vintage prints from the 1930s, 1940s and even 1950s. They typically depict images of Old Hawaii which can include scenery, landmarks and floral design elements in fine detail compared to a modern contemporary shirt. And one characteristic of these shirts is the tend to show these things in bright and bold tropical colors. Sometimes rather than an outright bold and loud design, a retro shirt may simply have artwork that has cues to decades past such as color selection, color intensity and graphic elements. Trees, people and scenery were drawn differently back then compared to today. Describing a vintage or retro Hawaiian shirt is difficult, but you know it when you see it. The image below shows a retro Hawaiian shirt next to a modern contemporary design.
Vintage-Inspired Retro Hawaiian Shirt (Left) vs Typical Modern Day Shirt (Right)
The retro Hawaiian shirts that we offer are premium shirts made of either rayon or silk. The great thing about these shirts, especially the silk ones, is how the feel, fall and flow when you wear them. Most cotton shirts don’t fall as freely as silk and rayon shirts and may even appear boxy next to a silk shirt. The silk Aloha shirts in particular are so light and cool that you sometimes feel like you’re not wearing a shirt at all. And because silk is so light, the shirt flows dramatically even in a light breeze. It’s hard not to feel pretty cool and a little awesome when wearing them!
Silk Hawaiian Shirt (Left) vs Cotton Shirt (Right)
Here’s a short video showing how the silk and cotton shirts move differently in the wind. Note how much more the silk shirts moves while the cotton shirt remains relatively still. We love them both and it really comes down to personal preference.