Tuesday, November 20, 2012

HI Fashion: The Legacy of Alfred Shaheen


ON EXHIBIT: HI Fashion: The Legacy of Alfred Shaheen


Alfred Shaheen, pioneer of the textile and fashion industry in Hawai‘i, 1955. Photo courtesy of Camille Shaheen.
 A whirl of vibrant colors, lines, images, and patterns. Breathtaking flair, sunny motifs, and “bombshell” sensations. Splendid aloha styles of the fifties and sixties. Weave these together with a new approach to design development and management practice within the Hawaiian garment industry and what results is the story of Alfred Shaheen, a man whose impact was more than most will ever recognize.
Bishop Museum celebrates Shaheen’s accomplishments with HI Fashion: The Legacy of Alfred Shaheen, a special holiday exhibition in the Castle Memorial Building that will excite and delight museum visitors at every turn. The exhibition features over two hundred gems of Shaheen fabric and fashion, on display from November 10, 2012, through February 4, 2013.  

HI Fashion is made possible through the very generous and gracious efforts of Alfred Shaheen’s daughter, Camille Shaheen-Tunberg. Programming for this exhibition is supported in part by the Honolulu star-advertiser, Hawai‘i Council for the Humanities and by the Hiroaki, Elaine & Lawrence Kono Foundation.
Shaheen moved to Hawai‘i from New Jersey with his family in 1938, went on to earn an engineering degree at Whittier College in California, then served in the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II. He returned to the Islands in 1945 and stepped easily into the family clothing business. His mother had a custom clothing shop called Margo’s. With vision and confidence Shaheen established his own shop, Shaheen’s of Honolulu, in 1948. In a Quonset hut outfitted with equipment that he designed, Shaheen built his remarkable silk screening business—an innovative move that led to local production of large quantities of printed fabric, and with quality control in his hands. Prior to this, most fabric used for Hawaiian clothing was manufactured on the U.S. mainland or in Japan.
Shaheen’s textile printing factory, 1957. By1950, Shaheen had engineered and built equipment to print, dye, and finish his fabrics. By doing this he assured control over the quality and the quantity of fabric needed for his burgeoning garment business. Photo courtesy of Camille Shaheen.   
 By 1950, Shaheen put together a business that allowed him to print, dye, and finish his own brand of fabric and streamlined his production to the point of producing 60,000 yards of fabric a month. His fabric was not just of run-of-the mill cloth—Shaheen teamed up with a textile chemist and others to create metallic paints that glimmered in many of is textiles. These unique inks were just part of the Shaheen library of over 1,000 colors and tones. 
 Shaheen was a proponent of cultural diversity. His team of local artists and designers reflected a Hawai‘i blend of Japanese, Hawaiian, Chinese, and other ethnic groups. Those who worked in the House of Shaheen were encouraged to research, explore, and incorporate cultural motifs in fabric design. Shaheen sent his designers outside the Islands on international trips to gather new ideas. These were combined to create Shaheen’s “fashion fusion” style. Shaheen invested in his employees’ development, provided good compensation, and valued their work and ideas. In return, Shaheen employees were highly motivated and loyal to the business.
By the time Hawai‘i achieved statehood, Shaheen was Hawai‘i’s largest manufacturer of aloha wear, employed 400 people, and grossed more than $4 million annually with sales worldwide. His outstanding success resulted from his “vertical manufacturing”—creating his own designs and fabrics, turning them into stunning fashions, and distributing these in his own retail shops and through world-wide wholesaling. This system allowed for a unique branding and rapid popularization of his high fashion aloha line.

  Shaheen retired in 1988, forty years after starting his business. He was honored by the State of Hawai‘i with a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2001. In 2006, the Honolulu Advertiser named him one of the 150 most influential people, events, and institutions to effect social, economic, political, and cultural change in Hawai‘i from 1856 onward. Alfred Shaheen died in 2008 at the age of 86.  

The treasures that make up the Bishop Museum exhibition are from the collection of Camille Shaheen-Tunberg, who has sought out and collected hundreds of garments produced by her father. In 2010, Shaheen- Tunberg worked with the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles to create the first exhibition of Shaheen’s work, titled Hawaii’s Alfred Shaheen: Fabric to Fashion. Bishop Museum is delighted to share the Shaheen story through HI Fashion: The Legacy of Alfred Shaheen, a new and larger exhibition featuring the styles and stories of this great pioneer of the Hawaiian garment industry.


Friday, September 21, 2012

one hula girl

 This hula girl is an island girl, born and raised in Hawai’i.

I have a passion for hula which lives in my heart and soul.
And a love for my island home… and the ocean… always beckoning for a day of play.
I’m obsessed with jeweled, bling-ie anything – even my little toes can’t escape.
But my earth-ie side lets me keep a little yard filled with flowers and plants of all sorts. Even my maile lau li’i is now lush and green and growing all over the place.
I have always had a serious case of wanderlust which has taken me to many different shores…I enjoy being infused by the beauty of interesting cultures.
But nothing makes me happier than coming home.
Even the air smells sweeter, moani ke’ala, and the cooling trades, welcoming me home. Home to my ‘ohana, they are my rock.
Local girl, for sure! And one hula girl, forever!
live love hula
…ea, ea!!!


Saturday, August 25, 2012

♭ FL@T - Palaka Fashions

Found these cool palaka fabric fashions on a Japanese fashion blog while googling "palaka".  Palaka is the Hawaiian word for plaid and is what most of our paniolo (Hawaiian cowboys) where in Hawaii.  What a cool find!!!  Very creative mixing of fabrics!

B1F 1-14-18 Shinmachi Aomori-City Aomori Japan
phone/facsimile 017-777-4363

FRENCH JKT ¥52,500
※ボーダーカットソーはJUNYA WATANABE MANです。



Friday, August 10, 2012

Bromeliad: Inspired by photoreality

Two inspiring posted by Bromeliad

 Inspired by photoreality 

Photorealistic digital fabric prints have been hitting the runways for the past year or two and are starting to trickle down to retailers from Anthro to H&M and are also turning up in home decor.

I particularly like photoreal prints that reproduce nature with landscapes, ocean surf and florals.

Are you feeling photoreality?

Images: H&M Dress on Hedvig at Northern Light; Marios (left), Anthropologie (right); Dries Van Noten Spring 2012 (top), Prada (bottom); Marios bag, Stella McCartney jacket; Mary Katrantzou; Dezso by Sara Beltran pouches


A DIY challenge 


As discussed yesterday, things surfy and photorealistic are hot fashion items right now.

So my DIY challenge is to decide what to do with the image above, which comes to us via Walmart.

Alert fellow blogger Maya Griggs from
Soccer Mom Style came across Get a Life photoreal t-shirts at her local Walmart. Being a fellow fashionista, she immediately saw the high end DIY potential of these ridiculously cool shirts for $11.

Since they aren't available online, she kindly sent me one. I never got so excited about a t-shirt.

But what to do with it? Not as in a lack of ideas but as in
which idea. 


   I could just keep it as a t-shirt a la Marios. (A Marios shirt is $165 and out of stock to boot.)

I could make it it into a pencil skirt or a mini dress a la Suno.



 Or I could turn it into a pouch or clutch a la Jimmy Choo, Samudra or Dezco. 


Here we have Jimmy Choo's Surf Clutch, which was $795 but is sold out. (I swear it's the same surfer.)