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Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Hawaiian Shirt Creator dies at 86

Alfred Shaheen, the man behind the modern Hawaiian garment industry, died Dec. 22 of complications from diabetes. The entrepreneur was 86 years old.

Shaheen noticed the many tourists from the mainland purchasing colorful but cheesy looking shirts and sundresses from small tourist shops to take home as souvenirs. Sensing an opportunity, Shaheen opened his own business in 1948, designing and printing his own higher quality Hawaiian apparel. Within a decade, he had more than 400 employees working for him and was grossing more than $4 million a year as the major player in the islands' garment industry. He closed his factory upon his retirement in 1988.

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