photography by LUCAS BLALOCK
written by CHRISTOPHER TENNANT
In 1962, the Aloha shirt was on the outs. The public had turned its back on rayon, and florals were no longer in style. And then the president of the Hawaiian Fashion Guild had an exceptionally bright idea. He called it “Operation Liberation.” His first step was to send two Aloha shirts to every lawmaker in the state and buttonhole as many local business leaders as possible. Hawaiian summers are famously sticky, and it seemed only fair that men should get a day off from the coat-and-tie grind. It wasn’t just a Hawaiian pride issue. It was about basic human rights. Or something like that.
There was still a media campaign to wage, and lots of glad handing to be done, but the basic concept was sold. In 1966, the Hawaiian Chamber of Commerce passed a resolution in support of Aloha Fridays, ensuring that the shirt was here to stay. In the early 1990s, the concept was exported to the California tech scene, and then the world, but under a different name. On your next Casual Friday, you’ll have plenty of ways to pay homage.