Made in Hawaii
Hawaii offers a variety of exclusive items that you won’t find anywhere else in the world:
In 1937, the term “aloha shirt” was trademarked (mainlanders often call them “Hawaiian shirts”) and in the 40s and 50s the popularity of aloha wear really took off. Today, the iconic aloha shirt has become a symbol of Hawaii and a unifying element of Hawaii’s multi-ethnic population. You’ll see aloha wear worn everywhere on your visit, from laid-back locals to downtown businessmen.
Modern interpretations of aloha wear by progressive local fashion designers have built upon traditional aloha shirt and muumuu designs to create stylish surf wear and designer women’s fashion. Hilo designer Sig Zane’s hand-cut patterns even help to perpetuate Hawaiian traditions and stories.
Paintings. Photography. Ceramics. Glassware. Hawaiian quilts. No matter what the medium, Hawaii’s artisans instill their own unique points of view in their artwork. Whether you’re gallery hopping in Downtown Oahu’s Chinatown or you’re discovering the small galleries of Hanapepe in Kauai, you’re bound to find a piece of distinctive Hawaii art that speaks to you.
Woodwork & Jewellery
Hawaii is the only place in the world where you can find koa (Acacia koa), a wood that is famous for its fine texture and rich colours. Native Hawaiians used koa to build things like canoes, bowls and woodcarvings. Later, during the time of the Hawaiian monarchy, koa was used to create fine furniture (the main staircase at Iolani Palace is made of koa wood). Today, koa is in shorter supply, making it an even more prized commodity. Wood workers still use koa to create valuable items like Hawaiian bowls, jewellery, furniture, ukuleles and guitars. These products can still be found in shops throughout the islands.
You can also find unique jewellery made exclusively in Hawaii. Bracelets, rings, pendants and earrings created by local designers reflect the beauty of the islands. Hawaii’s location in the Pacific also makes it a great place to shop for pearls from the South Seas and Tahiti.
The rich, volcanic soil of Hawaii Island gives 100% pure Kona coffee its rich aroma and intense flavours. Visit a coffee farm in Kona or Holualoa on Hawaii Island and take home some fresh beans. Coffee farms are also popping up in Oahu, Maui, Kauai, and Molokai.
Hawaii also produces a large portion of the world’s macadamia nuts. Most of Hawaii’s macadamia nut farms are on Hawaii’s Big Island, but you can also find farms in Molokai and Oahu. Hawaii’s fruits also make great jams and conserves. Flavors like lilikoi, guava, mango and pineapple make for excellent gifts to pack for your trip home.