Students at the University of Hawaii at Manoa will soon be able to add airline fashion to their curriculum after the institution received a donation of uniforms from the defunct Aloha Airlines.
Sets Across Multiple Decades Donated by Former Flight Attendant
The flight attendant uniforms were donated to the university by an alumnus who worked for the carrier. Aloha Airlines stopped flying in 2008 when it shut down passenger operations. Although they are currently on display, the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources’ Fashion and Design Merchandising program will keep the uniforms as part of their permanent collection. The goal is to not only study the uniforms throughout history, but also maintain a part of Hawaiian history.
Dating back to 1946, the airline’s uniforms matched the era from which they came. While the first flight attendant uniforms consisted of form-fitting muʻumuʻus, they were quickly switched to classic suits and pillbox hats found across major carriers. By the late 60’s and early 70’s, the carrier switched to a “Flower Power” inspired look with bright colors, bell bottoms, and vinyl capes. The final look for the cabin crew was inspired by the art of Peggy Hopper with “Banana Leafs” created by designer Tori Richard.
“The addition of the uniforms of Aloha Airlines adds a significant element to the collection and helps preserve the history of Hawaiʻi’s air travel,” collection curator Andy Reilly of the Fashion and Design Merchandising program said in a statement. “Every piece tells a story and we’re really lucky that the flight attendant kept their collection, kept their clothing and wanted to preserve it.”
The uniforms will join a collection of over 10,000 other garments culturally relevant to the history of Hawaii in the UH Historic Costume Collection. The overall collection includes pieces reflecting Asian, western, and global fashion.
Feature image courtesy: University of Hawaii at Manoa
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