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From Our Files: April


Our History

In 1888, King Kalakaua issued a royal charter, commissioning a magazine. Then titled Paradise of the Pacific, this publication became HONOLULU Magazine, making it the oldest magazine west of the Mississippi.



Hawaii’s fashion industry is burgeoning, and Alfred Shaheen is one of its biggest designers. After starting out with four sewing machines from his father’s dress shop in 1948, he grew his business quickly into a plant employing 154 workers and 100 machines. His pieces are distributed to 1,300 department stores and specialty shops throughout the Mainland. “Shaheen prints and Shaheen fashions are literally all over the map!” Paradise exclaims. Contributing to Shaheen’s success: the bold Polynesian motifs of his “Surf ‘n’ Sand Hand Prints” brand of aloha wear.



The first statehood-era issue of Paradise of the Pacific debated three nicknames for the new state: The Sugar State, The Pineapple State and the Aloha State.


Frank Francis Fasi wants back in,” reports HONOLULU. Four years after getting turned out of the mayor’s office, the charismatic “professional outsider” hasn’t had much luck. Says political writer Richard Borreca, “It used to be a standard local truism that Fasi could get one-third of the vote in any election. That one-third would be made up of the poor and disenfranchised, newly arrived Mainlanders who didn’t understand politicians who campaigned and won by being ‘quiet and effective,’ and voters who simply wanted the status quo changed … Without a City Hall battlefield to fight from, Fasi has been unable to add to his army of the angry and down-and-out.” Still, Borreca notes, “Big odds, high stakes and lost causes are the specialties of Frank Fasi. If anyone is mentally prepared for such a battle, it is he.” Sure enough, Fasi would go on to win the ’84 mayoral election, and hold the job for more than a decade.


Hawaii has long been held up as a slow-rolling escape from the hectic pace of modern life. In the ’90s, though? Forget about it. Living in paradise is no picnic at the beach. “There’s all this talk about the loss of the aloha spirit,” economist Paul Brewbaker tells HONOLULU. “People sense that something really has been lost. As we get more connected to the frenetic global economy, we’re paying a price: Hawaii is becoming just like everywhere else.” Chief among Islanders’ stresses is the cost of living, which is 40 percent higher in the Islands than on the Mainland. The worst offender: the price of housing. The magazine bemoans the Oahu median single-family house price of $358,500, the median mortage payment of $1,008, and the fact that 55,000 families are paying more than 30 percent of their household income in rent. 


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Honolulu Magazine May 2020
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