Ellery J. Chun gave the aloha shirt to the world.
Although he first created aloha shirts in 1931,
it was in 1936 he introduced the "Aloha Shirt"
label to the distinctively bright, colorful
Hawaiian attire. The term and
the style caught on,
and countless clothing manufacturers
Chun first sold aloha shirts -
- originally inspired by
palaka garments of plantation workers
and silk shirts
of high school classmates
sewn from leftover kimono
material by Japanese housekeepers --
at the family store, which he renamed
King-Smith Clothiers, 36 N. King St.
The Honolulu native graduated from Punahou
[ Like president Obama] in 1927 and majored in
economics at Yale, class of 1931.
By 1933, he began to produce
from cloth imported from
the U.S. mainland, Japan,
China and Tahiti. Surfers
and beachboys snapped up
the bold, breezy styles,
and visiting Hollywood celebrities
and other rich and famous ones
began sailing home to
display the new fashions.
In 1991, the state Senate
honored Chun for creating
the aloha shirt, on the 60th anniversary
of his landmark contribution to distinctive
Hawaiian apparel and the state of Hawaii.