After a recent trip home to Hawaii, Rep. Mark Takai (D-HI) brought a little bit of aloha back to Washington D.C. in the form of an aloha shirt.
Last Friday, Takai presented Speaker of the House Paul Ryan with the shirt and again urged him to consider allowing aloha wear to be worn on the House floor on Fridays.
“The Aloha shirt is the embodiment of Hawaii’s melting pot culture,” Takai told NBC News. “The clothing was originally sewn by a Chinese-American man using Hawaiian quilt patterns and sold out of his family’s small dry goods shop. To me and many residents of our state, the growth in popularity of the Aloha shirt truly represents the American Dream.”
Takai had previously written to Ryan on Jan. 8, asking the speaker to consider allowing Hawaii's signature shirts to be worn on the House floor on Fridays as an alternative to the full business attire currently required by House rules.
Aloha shirts have been worn every Friday on the floor of the Hawaii State Legislature since 1966, according to Takai, and have become mainstream business attire in Hawaii. Although the first aloha shirts were made by a small family-owned business, aloha wear is now a $500-million-a-year industry, Takai said.
Takai is the ranking member of the House of Representatives Small Business Committee’s Subcommittee on Contracting and the Workforce.
“I hope Speaker Ryan likes his new shirt and that it convinces him to allow Aloha wear on the House floor for Friday votes,” he said in a statement.