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The Reyn Spooner Story

The year — 1956. Located on what was once a marshy taro patch adjacent to Waikiki, Ala Moana Center- the world's most successful shopping mall — welcomed its first customers. Among the retail stores opening with it- Reyn's, a traditional men's haberdashery that soon became known as "the Brooks Brothers of the Pacific."

In the early 50's, Reyn McCullough, a visionary merchant who owned and operated a successful men's wear store on California's Catalina Island, saw the growth potential the Hawaiian Islands had to offer. Statehood was imminent — so was the introduction of jet travel — and Honolulu was soon to be a short jet ride from the West Coast. So Reyn packed his family and moved to Hawaii. Within a few years, the growth of Reyn's Ala Moana and other new Hawaii locations convinced him to sell his Catalina business and concentrate his focus in the Mid-Pacific. Enter Ruth Spooner who, in 1956 had established Spooners of Waikiki, and, with her one sewing machine operation on Waikiki Beach, was cultivating a reputation for the best 'kine' custom surf trunks in the islands. She made swimwear and shirts that Reyn designed, eventually selling him her business in 1962. Reyn set up four sewing machines in the basement of his Ala Moana store, and merging the two company names — Reyn Spooner® was born.

Frustrated in his efforts to find and offer unique, quality swimwear and an aloha shirt dignified enough for his local customer to wear professionally and casually, Reyn determined, in 1961, that he would have to make his own. At the time, the only shirts on the market were poor fitting, loudly colored garments that were generally made out of left over muumuu fabrics —a popular item for tourists and ideal for that once in a lifetime Hawaiian luau, but hardly of the quality and look that Reyn had in mind.

In 1966 the Hawaii Fashion Guild, of which Reyn was an active member, convinced local businesses to allow aloha wear to be worn to work on what we now know as Aloha Friday. By this time, Reyn had designed a pullover, Ivy-League all cotton aloha shirt with a button-down collar that proved to be very popular. But he still wasn't satisfied with the intensity and brightness of the tropical and calico print fabrics he was using. He liked the shirts the surfers wore — the prints had become bleached out and subdued by the sun — and after experimenting with several ways to achieve the same "chambray" effect, realized that he would simply turn the floral and calico prints inside out! Cowabunga! The "reverse print" concept, now synonymous with the Reyn Spooner® name, made history.

THE TRADITION CONTINUES - Well, Aloha Friday soon became Aloha Summer and so on, until today, over forty years after the birth of Aloha Friday and the acceptance of the aloha shirt as business attire, one could say that everyday is Friday for companies in Hawaii.