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Style in the Aisle: 8 Decades of Fashion From Hawaiian Airlines

Hawaiian Airlines will showcase 85 years of retro uniforms at HONOLULU Fashion Week. Here’s a sneak peek.


1943. Ten-hut! The earliest uniform worn by Hawaiian Airlines’ flight attendants had an unmistakable military influence.
Photos: Courtesy of Hawaiian Airlines


There’s no denying that today’s Hawaiian Airlines flight attendants look stylish in their azure blazers and distinctive floral prints. But this is nothing new. Hawaiian Air has always put an emphasis on the style in its aisles, from the original gray jackets and skirts of the 1940s (above) and the freewheeling looks of the 1960s and 1970s, to the business-like aesthetic of today.
In celebration of its 85th anniversary—and eight-and-a-half decades of fabulous-looking flight attendants—Hawaiian will present a sweeping look at the evolution of in-flight fashion during HONOLULU Fashion Week, Nov. 6-9.
On Saturday, Nov. 8, a fashion team modeling vintage Hawaiian Airlines’ uniforms will kick off the MAMo Wearable Arts Show. All through HONOLULU Fashion Week, an exhibit in the sponsor lounge will show the full range of styles over the years.
Here’s a sneak peak at some of the highlights:



The Jackie Look


The introduction of Hawaiian Airlines DC-9 jet aircraft was accompanied by the unveiling of this three-piece ensemble. It was topped with white straw beret, good for the hat tip to Jackie Kennedy.



Fly the groovy skies


This flower-powered little number hit the wild blue yonder just in time for the Summer of Love. It came in three lengths, this, presumably, being the shortest.



Coffee, tea or Kool-Aid?


Yes, there’s something a little cultish going on here, but any of the 1970s religious fringe groups would have been lucky if their adherents had looked so stylin.’ This nylon-knit uniform featured a sassy slit in the front and a golden fish pendant.



Expression session


Versatility was the name of the game at the height of the disco era, with a colorful set of six garments that flight attendants could transform into 20 different outfits.



Oh, Christmas tree...


Look carefully at the intricate pattern on this uniform, which was inspired by the traditional Hawaiian quilt, and you can find both a DC-9 and Hawaiian’s Pualani logo.



Return to reason


Input from Hawaiian’s employees went into the current uniform’s design, which has a floral print shirt featuring elements of significance in Hawaiian culture. Among them, the seafaring noio, a bird whose appearance indicated to Polynesian voyagers that land was nearby.


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Honolulu Magazine October 2018
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