Aloha Friday: How Hawaii inspired the concept of casual Friday globally

“Happy Aloha Friday”.

In Hawaii it’s very common to hear this phrase exchanged multiple times throughout the day each Friday. While this sentiment is unique to Hawaii, the concept has been adapted globally. “Casual Friday” or “Dress-Down Friday” was inspired by our beloved island home.

In 1946 the City and County of Honolulu allowed their workers to wear casual sports shirts during the hot and humid summer months. It was during this time that the aloha shirt was created and quickly adapted as ‘the’ fashion item of choice - both in and out of the workplace.

The Hawaiian Fashion Guild began promoting aloha attire as business attire in 1962 and many local fashion designers such as Tori Richard started designing aloha shirts with different patterns and colors. The aloha shirt trend became so big that the Hawaiian Fashion Guild launched a campaign called “Operation Liberation”. 

Business man in Honolulu circ. 1960's

During Operation Liberation the organization distributed aloha shirts to every member of the Hawaii House of Representatives and Hawaii Senate. A resolution was passed that recommended aloha attire be worn throughout the summer starting on Lei Day, May 1. After then it became common practice for employees to wear aloha shirts on the last workday of the week. This phenomenon quickly spread to the U.S. Mainland and beyond.

Fast forward to the 1970’s and it was acceptable to wear aloha attire as business attire every day of the week.

Local Hawaii musician, Kimo Kahoano, was so inspired by the world’s response to Aloha Friday that in 1982 he recorded one of our all-time favorite Friday jams, “It’s Aloha Friday, No Work Til Monday”.

Hawaii’s laid back lifestyle inspired the world to adopt a more relaxed approach to the end of the working week. We at Oi Agency feel fortunate to live and breathe Aloha Friday everyday!