Ever since the first Aloha shirt was made back in the 1930s, the Aloha shirt has become an integral part of Hawaii’s culture. Hawaii’s warm and often humid tropical climate made wearing a traditional business suite to work very uncomfortable. In 1947, the city of Honolulu started to encourage people to wear cooler sport shirts to work during the hot summer months. The Aloha shirt prints at the time (vintage prints) were still quite bold and usually not considered appropriate work attire.
In 1962 the Hawaiian Fashion Guild began promoting the idea of wearing aloha wear to work. Shirt designers started coming up with more understated and reserved designs with subdued colors more suitable as office attire. Companies as well as government offices began allowing emloyees to wear aloha attire on Friday, the last workday of the week. “Aloha Friday” officially began in 1966 when the president of Bank of Hawaii (Wilson P. Cannon Jr.) started wearing aloha shirts to work on Fridays.
Before long, wearing an Aloha shirt to work everyday (not just Friday) became a standard practice. Even today, many office workers in Hawaii wear aloha attire to work every day. As more companies in Hawaii allowed their workers to wear Hawaiian apparel to work, some Mainland companies started to take notice. Many companies on the Mainland started employing “Casual Friday” when people would dress down and wear more casual clothes to work on Friday. Offices with people from Hawaii would often take it a step further and champion Aloha Friday by wearing an Aloha shirt or other aloha attire to work on Friday getting their coworkers to follow suite.
This tradition continues today. In fact, Aloha Friday helps people get in the mood for the weekend. In 1982, Hawaiian musician Kimo Kahoano recorded a catchy tune called “Aloha Friday”. The main lyric in the song is “It’s Aloha Friday, No Work ‘Til Monday,” and is an anthem for workers in Hawaii and others who love Aloha shirts as they go to work on Friday while already looking forward to the weekend. The video also includes a slide show of pictures to transport you back in time to Old Hawaii’s plantation and pre-statehood days.
Aloha Friday’s are awesome and we believe that if everyone lived everyday a little bit like an Aloha Friday, life would be just a little bit happier and the world would be a better place. Aloha!