In the 50th State we like to get a head start on our weekends. Before casual Friday on the U.S. Mainland, there was Aloha Friday In Hawaii. But who started Aloha Friday and why?
While Aloha and Casual Fridays are both breaks from boring office attire, Aloha Friday is far from casual, and invokes something much greater. Aloha Friday expands beyond the office and invites the whole island community to celebrate our shared culture and spirit.
In 1962, a campaign was launched by local designers called "Operation Liberation." The goal was to free Honolulu business men from their stuffy suits in the summer months while also supporting the local fashion industry. In 1967, Aloha Fridays became officially recognized. State representatives revolutionized Hawaii men’s fashion forever when they first wore an aloha shirt to work. With the state capital leading by example, the entire business district soon followed.
Today of course, aloha shirts have become acceptable business attire throughout the whole week and nearly all occasions. It has remained a staple in the wardrobe of men across the islands till this day. But what about us women? Men are not the only ones who go to work on Fridays, and the aloha shirt is only one half of the aloha wear story.
Aloha wear is important to us at Mu'umu'u Mamas because it is a reflection of the the many races who call these islands home. After all, it was this fusion which gave birth to the aloha shirt and mu'umu'u alike. While aloha shirts were inspired by Japanese fashion, mu'umu'u came from the American Mother Hubbard dress. Hawaii has adopted little bits of culture and fashion from both the East and West. When we dress in aloha wear, we not only support our local designers, but we remember that regardless of our differences, we share a common love for this place and celebrate its people.
Perhaps we are in need of another Operation Liberation which invites women to join this weekly celebration. Whether it is a mu'umu'u, a modern style Aloha dress, or an aloha shirt, women can’t leave Aloha Fridays up to men alone.
Are you are a wahine that loves Fridays? Share your Aloha Friday look with us on IG and Facebook!