Friday, July 26, 2013

Designs From Paradise - Part Three - Bailey's Antiques and Aloha Shirts

Designs from Paradise – Bailey’s Antiques and Aloha Shirts

This is the third episode of Designs from Paradise.  The first was Tori Richard LTD, the second was the story of Dale Hope.

Last year my husband and I visited Hawaii to celebrate a family member’s birthday.  Just before leaving home I saw an old episode of Anthony Bourdain when his adventures took him to HNL.  One of his tours was a visit to Bailey’s Antiques and Aloha Shirts. He highlighted the amazing collection of vintage textiles, with an emphasis on Aloha shirts,  David Bailey had on display in his shop (more of a museum in reality). You can see a part of his visit on a video at  Naturally, I took this as an invitation from the “gods of textiles, old and new,” and made the required shopping experience.


The shop is located at 517 Kapahulu Avenue, Honolulu, a short city bus ride into the suburbs and a 2 block walk. Established in 1980, it was, at first, located on Waikiki Beach, but moved to its present location to accommodate the growing inventory of vintage textiles and island memorabilia. We were very impressed with the knowledgeable staff and their friendly assistance, which included permission to photograph within the shop.  Before we left (after much time browsing, examining the shirts and taking notes) David Bailey spent time explaining his love of island textiles and the history of his collection of over 15,000 shirts which were arranged into categories: used, new, vintage and specialty.

Shirts are displayed on racks, folded on shelves and even hung from the ceiling.

Even Santa Claus can go Hawaiian

This is a reproduction of Tiger-Tiger Thousand Tigers
The original of this shirt sold at a California auction for $25,000!!!

The original shirt is on the top, priced at $990.99
The reproduction shirt beneath is $54.99

If you are ever in Honolulu and in the mood for a most dramatic vintage textile experience, I highly recommend a stop at Bailey’s.  If travel is not in your immediate future you can visit the website or pose an email question to

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More reference books on Hawaiian shirts

I hope you enjoyed our 3 brief excursions into textiles from paradise. 

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