Doctor's Review: Medicine on the Move

August 18, 2017
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The clothes that made the man

What does an ex-engineer/fighter pilot do after serving in World War II? He starts making Hawaiian shirts, of course. That’s what Alfred Shaheen did in 1948 and he went on to become a garment and textile industry pioneer, designing his own equipment to print, dye and finish 55,000 metres of his own brand of fabric every month. He amassed quite a library of 1000 colours, and worked with Chinese and Japanese artists, often sending them off island for inspiration and encouraging them to incorporate different cultural designs into their work. When Hawaii achieved statehood in ’59, Shaheen employed 400 people and his business grossed US$4 million a year with sales worldwide. Aloooooha. HI Fashion: The Legacy of Alfred Shaheen, on now through February 3 at Honolulu’s Bishop Museum, is the largest collection of his designs ever shown. It includes 200 pieces from aloha shirts and bombshell dresses to photos and old advertisements. Adults US$17.95; kids 4 to 12 US$14.95; three and under free. Closed Tuesdays. (808) 847-3511; bishopmuseum.org.

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