Hawaii is the spiritual home of the tropical floral shirt, so, say ‘Aloha’ to Reyn Spooner.
Reynolds (Reyn) McCullough returned home to Catalina Island, California after serving in WWII. He was inspired to explore his natural connection to that easygoing Cali style, at first as a shop clerk at the local men’s shop, then as the owner of Reyn’s Men’s Wear, soon running six popular stores across the state.
Meanwhile, in 1956, Ruth Spooner had opened Spooner's of Waikiki and quickly built a reputation in Hawaii for manufacturing quality surf trunks working with just one sewing machine.
When Reyn opened his first shop in Honolulu, he didn’t sell Aloha shirts. The shirts being produced at the time just didn’t meet Reyn and Ruth’s standards for style and construction, and it wasn’t until after a local surfer showed Reyn an inside-out sewing method championed by locals, that the dream took shape.
Left - Deep Sea Jive Tailored Buttonfront - Black Onyx - £130
In 1962, McCullough teamed up with Ruth Spooner to ensure consistent quality and decided to merge the two company names to create Reyn Spooner in Honolulu. He then set up four sewing machines in the basement of his Ala Moana store to create ‘Aloha Apparel’.
Developed by founder, Reyn McCullough, Spooner KlothTM is a unique woven cloth made of cotton and spun poly that’s amazingly durable, wrinkly-free and breathable.
Reyn Spooner is now owned by ‘Aloha Brands’, representing a group of investors, led by Charlie Baxter and Dave Abrams.
The brand is available at Liberty of London and The Hip Store.
Right - Kainapu Rayon Camp Shirt - Crocodile - £160
Fashion always surprises and reinterprets. We all have our preconceptions about things and it’s that willingness to change that separates the leaders from the followers. I love it when something you think couldn’t be less cool is presented in a new way that makes it desirable. This is what good designers do.
Far Left - Balenciaga SS17, Left - Striped Cotton-Poplin Cropped Shirt - £285 from Matchesfashion.com
When Georgian designer, Demna Gvasalia, of Vetements fame, started working as Creative Director of Balenciaga, I was a bit sceptical. I thought they - the parent company Kering - were chasing the latest cool wave and it was more about column inches and gimmicks than making great clothes. I’ll put my hands up and say I was wrong and they are making interesting clothes at more realistic prices. It’s also the first time that new designers have brought in some of the DNA of the house into the present.
What he has done is play with proportions and shapes, that at first sight seem comedic, but when they start to sink in become desirable and cool. It feels fresh, which brings me to the easiest way to buy into this collection.
Fashion has got basic, and that’s basic as in #basicbitch. Items you wouldn’t have given a second thought are now at the forefront of menswear thanks to Demna Gvasalia at Balenciaga.
Long the wardrobe of the postman or the office dad, the short sleeve shirt, slightly oversized, is the style you should be going for. You want those nerdy triangular sleeves, this isn’t a gun show, and I would team with a pair of tailored sweat pants to stop it looking too dress-down office.
You can opt for the original or find a standard short sleeved shirt in most men’s shops like this like blue version from Esprit.
Left - Esprit - Poplin Shirt With Short Sleeves - £29