Profile of Alfred Shaheen
Hawaii garment industry pioneer Alfred Shaheen
designed, printed, and produced men's aloha shirts and
women's tropical print dresses in post World War II Hawaii.
He specialized in designing and printing his own fabrics
and his designs were unique at the time because they featured
subtle colors and prints then most of the tropical clothing
being sold in Hawaii during the post-war Hawaii tourism boom.
He also raised the level of Hawaiian style ready-to-wear
clothing by using high quality materials and quality construction
techniques, and by hiring a staff of artists to create
Facts About Alfred Shaheen
-Date of Birth: January 31, 1922
-Birth Place: New jersey
-Date of Death: December 22, 2008
-His family was in the textile business in New Jersey
and in Compton California before they finally
settled in Honolulu in 1938.
-He graduated from Whittier College in Southern California in 1943.
-Was a fighter pilot for the Army Air Force during World War II.
Hew flew over Europe.
-His parents had a custom dress shop in Honolulu but
he wanted to branch out into ready-to-wear, so he
started his own business and brand, "Shaheen's of Honolulu",
-In 1952 he opened a silk screening plant using equipment he built himself,
and he put a group of artists on salary to design unique patterns inspired
by Polynesian and Asian cultures. He sometimes sent his designers
to exotic locations in Asia and the Pacific to soak up local culture and get inspired
to create new designs. His focus was on original designs that were not bright or
garish like so many of the Hawaii style fabrics that were common at the time.
-In 1956 he built a new, 23,000 square foot, state-of-the-art factory and
by 1959 he employed 400 workers and grossed more then $4 million a year.
-He had a seven-store chain of ready-to-wear shops that
sold men's shirts and women's dresses and sarongs, and he
also sold his clothing to shops and department stores
all over the world.
-In 1988 he shut down his factory and retired to his
homes in Honolulu and Los Angeles. He lived the last
five years of his life in Torrance, Southern California.
-On July 6, 2001 he received the Ka Ahu Noeau
Lifetime Achievement Award from the Sate of Hawaii.
-In 2006 the Honolulu Advertiser named him one of the 150
most influential people, events, and institutions to impact social,
economic, political, and cultural changes in Hawaii from 1856 to the present
-Alfred Shaheen died at the age of 86 on December 22, 2008 of
diabetes complications . At the time of his death
he had been living in Torrance, California for about five years.
Alfred Shaheen Articles and Web Sites
Alfred Shaheen's "Surf and Sand" Label
Official History of Alfred Shaheen
Hawaii's 150 Most Influential: Alfred Shaheen
Paradise of the Pacific Commemorative Issue (PDF)
Alfred Shaheen, Giant of Garment Industry, Dies
Alfred Shaheen, Garment Industry Pioneer Dies
Alfred Shaheen Clothing Available on eBay
Aloha Shirt History
People of Hawaii
Islands of Hawaii
Hawaii for Visitors