Alfred Shaheen is one of the best known of the Hawaiian garment and textile designers of the 20th Century. Shaheen was active from 1948 into the 1980s, but he is best known for his work in the 1950s.
He was the son of custom Hawaiian clothing manufacturer George Shaheen, and after college and serving in the military in WWII, he returned home to work in the family business. His plan was to expand into ready-to-wear, and in 1948 he opened Alfred Shaheen to make Hawaiian shirts for men and dresses for women.
At first he used fabrics brought in from the US mainland, but he soon realized that profits would be greater if he printed the fabric in Hawaii. He set up Surf ‘n Sand Hand Prints to print the colorful Hawaiian fabrics. His handprinted textiles were based on the flora and fauna of the Hawaiian Islands, along with Hawaiian traditions and authentic tapa cloth designs.
Shaheen produced not only the fabric, but they also manufactured clothing made from it. Shaheen was known for their sexy sarong dresses and swim suits, Hawaiian shirts and halter dresses with full skirts. The company closed in 1988 when Alfred Shaheen retired.
Written by Lizzie Bramlett, fuzzylizzie.com