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April 18, 2011 Contact: Star-nani Peralta

Celebrating the 75th Anniversary of the Aloha Shirt

The aloha shirt is a 20th century innovation. In the early 1930’s, Waikiki beach boys favored loose fitting shirts custom made from silky Japanese fabrics. When visitors began asking for them, an enterprising young tailor named Ellery Chun decided that ready-made shirts in fabrics designed by his talented artist sister, Ethel, were the answer. Due in part to the smashing success and popularity of his shirts, Ellery Chun registered the name "Aloha Shirt" in 1936 and the rest is fashion history.

Many of these early shirts were made with traditional Japanese style fabrics, however today; these shirts are made and designed in a wide variety of fabrics including cotton, rayon, silk and polyester blends. There are many manufacturers producing Hawaiian Shirts and the Aloha Shirt paved the way for all the colorful and island inspired shirts being worn around the globe today. The Aloha Shirt is the symbol of the comfortable, casual and picturesque lifestyle that is unique to Hawaii

In 1962, Hawaii legislators adopted a resolution approving comfortable "aloha attire’ as the wardrobe for summer months. Then in 1964, the Hawaiian Fashion Guild and its president, Bill Foster, Sr., successfully promoted "Aloha Friday" making it acceptable for men to wear Aloha Shirts on the last business day of each week during certain months of the year.

Two years later, the Hawaii legislature approved the "Friday" resolution with the endorsement of the Hawaii Chamber of Commerce. While perceptions of an island paradise conjure up thoughts of people in casual dress, it had taken a long time to put an end to the old dress standards of suits and ties. The idea of "Aloha Friday" spread rapidly throughout the state; locals wanted to go casual and stylish in Alohawear.

Hilo Hattie will celebrate the 75th Anniversary of the Aloha Shirt by entering its World’s Largest Aloha Shirt into several local parades. In March 1999, this 400XL shirt measuring Chest - 168 inches, Waist - 161 inches and Neck - 60 ½ inches was officially entered into the Guinness Book of Records.

Hilo Hattie will also manufacture an exclusive limited edition "nostalgic collection" of vintage inspired Aloha Shirts that will be available for sale at all Hilo Hattie stores. Several events commemorating the Aloha Shirt including artist signings, an Aloha Shirt museum exhibit, music and special announcements (details to follow) are planned for various Hilo Hattie stores.

"Hilo Hattie is proud to promote the 75th Anniversary of the Aloha Shirt." says Donald B.S. Kang, President and Chief Executive Officer of Pomare, Ltd., parent company of Hilo Hattie. "This historic event reminds us that the Hawaiian fashion industry is a mainstay of our state’s economy and one of Hawaii’s leading exports. We encourage the business community, Kama’aina and visitor alike, to support the Aloha Shirt and Hawaiian Resort Wear which has become known worldwide as a symbol of Hawaii."

Mamo Howell’s fashions and her new home products will also be offered for wholesale with select retail partners in the United States and Canada. International distribution will also be available.

About Hilo Hattie ~ The Store of Hawaii

Hilo Hattie was founded in 1963 and has grown into Hawaii’s largest retailer, manufacturer and wholesaler of Hawaiian fashions and gifts. Since the company first began, more than 47 million customers have shopped at Hilo Hattie making it one of the most visited shopping attractions in Hawaii. There are eight stores on Oahu, Maui, Kauai and the Big Island, including the new Island Edge by Hilo Hattie, at the Ala Moana Center.

Hilo Hattie offers Hawaii’s largest selection of Hawaiian fashions, gifts, souvenirs, t-shirts, home and beach accessories, beauty products, gourmet foods and stunning Island jewelry. Hilo Hattie also guarantees its shoppers the lowest prices on thousands of Hawaiian products. Hilo Hattie was voted by Hawaii residents as the “Best Place for Hawaiian Fashions” for the past eight years. For more information, call (808) 535-6500, (800) 233-8912 or visit www.HiloHattie.com.