Hawaiian Shirt Creator Alfred Shaheen Dies
The man who designed the iconic Hawaiian 'aloha' shirt, Alfred Shaheen, has passed away due to complications from diabetes. Shaheen was a pioneer in the Hawaiian garment and textiles industry, and received a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2001 for his lifelong efforts and contributions.
Shaheen's distinctively bright floral designs shot to prominence when Elvis Presley wore one on the cover of his 1961 hit album Blue Hawaii and demand for them increased steadily as tourism in the Pacific Island chain grew.
"I would not do harsh prints or chop suey prints," the designer once reflected on his winning aesthetic. "I avoided bright or garish colours."
Inspired by a desire to create a "certain look that was different from everyone else's", original Shaheen designs now regularly fetch up to £750 at auction.
Shaheen's original aloha shirts were crafted with material imported from the mainland US, but he realized this wasn't a viable business structure. Shaheen soon after launched his own printing plant and created his own fabrics, called Surf 'n Sand Hand Prints. Prints were inspired by the native designs out of the South Pacific, Hawaii and Asia.
Alfred Shaheen was 86 at the time of his passing.