When we think of ‘Hawaii’, the first thing that comes to our mind is the vibrant color with deep cultural significance on an island country. The clothing and the adornments people of Hawaii wear to represent themselves are heavily influenced by the social customs. Traditional clothing in Hawaii could protect the wearer’s skin even with a woven cloth in extreme heat and humidity. Let us have a look at the overall traditional clothing in Hawaii.
Traditional Clothing in Hawaii
Clothing in Hawaii has evolved over the centuries. Before Western contact and the influence of Western contact, both contributed to new materials and techniques. For instance, before the Western arrival, traditional dress in Hawaii meant clothing made of natural materials, for instance, lauhala, ti leaf skirts, loin clothes, and embellishments like Tattoos named Kakau. Things changed when Western explorers introduced woven fabrics and sewing techniques.
One of the most recognized traditional Hawaiian clothing is the Hula attire. It can be worn by females with a hula skirt, a grass skirt, a bikini top, or a bandeau as the tops. Males can pair up a Hawaiian shirt, a grass skirt, and a bare torso.
Traditional dress in Hawaii is unimaginable without the mention of “Lei.” Lei refers to the floral wreath as a beautification form. Leis are well-made of flowers, shells, seeds, nuts, bones, etc.
Types of Traditional Clothing in Hawaii
The names of traditional clothing are quite unknown, still, the clothing represents Hawaiian culture. For instance:
Holoku is originally from Hawaii. It is just a loose gown without any waistline or train for everyday wear. Holoku is the most common traditional dress of Hawaii.
Muumuu refers to the cut-off of the dress to a shorter size. This particular clothing became popular in the decades of 1930 and 1940 when women retained their cultural identity.
Malo is worn by men in Hawaii. It is a tapa cloth-made dress that is worn around the waist area. The clothing is long in a foot wide and 6-8 feet long.
4. ‘Ahu ‘ula
Ahu ula is a feather cape that features a multi-color bark cloth backing with a yellow edge on each side.
Materials that make traditional clothing in Hawaii are kapa (the bark cloth) and lauhala. Lau means leaf and hala, the tree produces long leaves that are ideal for weaving.
Traditional Clothing for Males in Hawaii
Many famous and culturally significant garments and accessories are worn by men in traditional Hawaiian attire, reflecting the rich history and traditions of the Hawaiian Islands.
Traditional Clothing for males in Hawaii are:
1. Aloha Shirt
The clothing is a vibrant, short-sleeved shirt with a button-up front that is frequently made of a light fabric, such as cotton or silk. The prints are nature-inspired patterns, a representation of Hawaii’s carefree and tropical way of life.
2. Lava Lava (Pareo)
The lava lava is a rectangular piece of fabric. Men wear it around the waist. It can be matched with a straightforward T-shirt. Moreover, It is frequently worn by guys, especially for casual situations.
A holok is a customary Hawaiian dress shirt that is often long-sleeved and constructed of breathable materials.
4. Ihe (Spear)
The Ihe was traditionally a vital piece of weapon that Men carried it. It was frequently held during hula dances or worn in a loop around the waist.
5. Kapa Cloth
Traditionally, clothing was produced from kapa cloth, which is a material created from the inner bark of specific trees.
Men in Hawaii used to cover their loins with a rectangular piece of cloth called a malo. It is currently only used for cultural events and performances.
Male Hawaiians typically used a large shawl called a “Kihei” as an outerwear. It worked well as a weather-resistant barrier. On the other hand, It may be worn centered over the left shoulder and tied over the right, slung over both shoulders.
Traditional Clothing for Female in Hawaii
Traditional clothing in Hawaii for females shows the spirit of the island. All these garments are worn for either cultural preservation but also celebration. Hawaiian traditional clothing for females are Muumuu, and Hula Grab.
The “muumuu” is a traditional clothing in Hawaii for females. The clothing is long, sleeveless, and flowy. Cotton and synthetic materials like polyester make muumuus. It can be embellished with intricate floral patterns.
2. Hula Garb
Another piece of clothing for Hawaiian ladies is the hula outfit. In the past, it comprised ankle bracelets, a grass skirt, and a lei. This particular clothing was necessary for the hula dance.
Traditional Clothing in Hawaii is more than just fabric and embellishments. Rather, The clothing is a living witness to the islands’ enriched cultural as well as historical heritage. All these Traditional clothing mentioned in the article, whether worn during different performances, celebrations, or everyday life, provides a link between the past and the present. Besides, they keep carrying on the long legacy of the Hawaiian people’s deep-rooted traditions after generations.
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