Social and Psychological Aspects

Haoles in Hawai`i: Reducing Negative Distinctiveness though the Hawaiian Shirt

  • Andrew Reilly (University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa)


Studies of dress and identity need to move beyond who one is not and move towards who one is to explore a deeper complexity of identity. The use of Hawaiian shirts to construct and display identity in Hawaiʻi though the racial/ethnic categories of Hawaiian, local (descendants of primary Asian immigrants), and haole (White) provides for this type of exploration Sixteen men were interviewed for this study and analysis of interviews reveals that while Hawaiian and local men use different types of shirts to differentiate themselves from tourists and outsiders, whereas haoles who move to Hawaii navigate their Whiteness via different types of Hawaiian shirts against a backdrop of historic Hawaiian and local persecution.

Keywords: ethnicity, race, white, local, aloha shirt, Hawaiian shirt, Hawaiian

How to Cite:

Reilly, A., (2022) “Haoles in Hawai`i: Reducing Negative Distinctiveness though the Hawaiian Shirt”, International Textile and Apparel Association Annual Conference Proceedings 79(1). doi:

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Published on
31 Dec 2022
Peer Reviewed