Nowadays it is pretty hard to find clothing that’s made in USA. But here in Hawaii, the garment manufacturing industry is still going strong. Over the past few decades, most garment manufacturing shifted to overseas factories in China, Vietnam, Indonesia and other places. The biggest advantage of overseas production is labor cost. The biggest disadvantage is having to buy shirts and dresses in huge quantities and stocking expensive inventory. In recent years, the cost of labor has gone up considerably in places like China. While it is still cheaper to manufacture Aloha shirts and dresses in China, the lower cost per unit is offset by having to buy them by the hundreds, or even thousands. So rather than tie up so much money in inventory, companies stock their fabric in local warehouses and simply get by with smaller and more frequent production runs. This allows them to respond quickly to market demands and tastes.
The production techniques here in Hawaii have not changed much sine the first aloha shirts appeared in Honolulu in the 1930s. Fabric is still rolled onto cutting tables and cut by electric blades. Shirts are still individually sewn with a sewing machine. The biggest change is in how the fabric patters are designed. Computers and design software makes it much easier and faster to create designs, make revisions and control color than in decades past. But as far as the actual shirt manufacturing process is concerned, a modern Hawaiian dress factory looks very similar to ones from half a century ago.
Most of the shirts, dresses and muumuus we sell are made in Hawaii. A few items are imported like some kid’s clothing, bags and some muumuu prints. But chances are, if you buy a muumuu, Hawaiian dress, or aloha shirt form us you’ll see the “Made in Hawaii” tag and your item will be made as shown in the video.