In the late 1920's, a tailor by the name of Ellery Chun cut out and sewed up a shirt from a bright, flowery piece of fabric he had laying around his King-Smith Tailor Shop. He called it an "Aloha Shirt" and the seeds of the Hawaiian garment industry were thus planted.
Some years later a gentleman by the name of Herbert Briner took note of the garments, still being produced only in small tailor shops and he had an idea. He bought the only existing garment production facility in the islands (a uniform manufacturer) and converted it into Hawaii's first ready-to-wear garment company, christening it The Kamehameha Garment Company, opening for business in 1936.
Named for Hawaii's legendary King Kamehameha I, who united the island chain in 1795, the company experienced immediate success and established a reputation of purveyor of high quality garments that captured the unique spirit and traditions of island living. This reputation continued throughout the ensuing years and today, if one looks through the many books and articles that have been written about the Hawaiian fashion industry, the name Kamehameha will always be mentioned first, and foremost. Indeed original Kamehameha "silky" aloha shirts are prized by collectors of the genre, fetching hundreds, even thousands of dollars from antique clothing aficionados.
The modern day renaissance of Hawaiian fashion has again brought the company to the attention of the trend-conscious fashion world. By re-introducing the prints and color stories that made the company pre-eminent in the industry so many years ago, Kamehameha is winning the allegiance of a whole new group of Hawaiian shirt lovers. The styling is purely retro, virtually duplicating the years old shirt that is now so prized by the collectors.
In the sixty-odd years since Herb Briner founded the Hawaiian ready-to-wear industry, there have been many inferior send-ups of the Hawaiian shirt; many not even made in Hawaii. Kamehameha alone continues the traditions and tailoring methods that made the Kamehameha aloha shirt a fashion statement so many years ago. With a nod to this history, in 1996 the members of the Hawaiian Fashion Association named the company "Manufacturer of the Year" in the traditional division.
If you are looking to buy a truly genuine Hawaiian garment made the old fashioned way, with quality and tradition as the prime ingredients, you need look no further.