Hawaiian shirts are also called Aloha shirts, and reflect the style and heritage of the islands. The shirts have grown to be the premier textile export for the state, with Hawaii's manufacturing industry touching an all-time high. Usually, the short-sleeved Aloha shirts exported to the mainland United States and around the globe have bright colors with floral patterns or generic Polynesian motifs. These shirts are usually worn as informal wear or on any casual occasion.
The shirts manufactured for local Hawaii residents in many cases are dull in tone. In cases when the shirts are uniformly colored or color-coordinated, they're worn with traditional Hawaiian quilt designs or simple plant patterns in muted, non-flashy colors. Aloha shirts manufactured for local audiences are considered to be a evening wear in business and government. They are deemed equal to a coat and tie a thief wears in the city. The foundation of the shirts can be traced to the early many years of the dominion of Hawaii, upon the arrival of Congregational and Presbyterian missionaries towards the Hawaiian Islands. The Christian settlers from New England imposed strict dress codes, and the native Hawaiians were instructed to wear quick-sewn shirts made of various fabrics open to the missionary seamstresses at the time.
Producing the current Aloha shirt rakes backs to early 1930s. A Chinese merchant named Ellery Chun started a shop called King-Smith Clothiers and Dry Goods in Waikiki. In the early days, he started sewing colorful shirts for tourists out of old kimono fabrics. The Honolulu Advertiser newspaper coined the term Aloha shirt to explain Chun's fashionable creation, and this was widely accepted through the people.