Posted on March 04, 2021
The Aloha State of Mind
There’s legendary history and Hawaiian heritage stitched into every Reyn Spooner garment. The spirit of Aloha and West Coast cool merge with East Coast prep. Casual comfort pairs with thoughtful, classic construction. Timeless, island-inspired exclusive prints and patterns meet modern styling. For over 60 years, Reyn Spooner has built a legacy of craftsmanship and design with Aloha in every stitch.
The word Aloha means many things. We use it in greeting and farewells and in expressions of love. Aloha is also a way of life and is something we share in every stitch. With every piece we create, our quality apparel wears as well on the first day as it does years later. Our pieces are passed down to the next generation and become a heirloom. We are made to last and made to remember.
The Reyn Spooner Story
Reynolds McCullough (known to everyone as Reyn) grew up in California on Catalina Island. When he came home from service after WWII, he began working at a men’s shop in Avalon on Catalina Island. Reyn proved to have a keen eye for fashion and marketing, so in 1949 he bought his employer’s shop and renamed it Reyn’s Men’s Wear. Eventually he ran six stores in California and was known for carrying exceptional mens resort clothing. On his first trip to Hawaii in 1957, Reyn was captivated by life in the Hawaiian Islands. He also recognized a business opportunity as jumbo jets made tourism possible and statehood was imminent. A year later, Reyn moved his family to Honolulu, and when Ala Moana Shopping Center in Honolulu opened in 1959, Reyn’s Men’s Wear was one of the first shops to open its doors.
Reyn Meets Spooner
In a little grass shack that was set up in 1956 under the palm trees on Waikiki beach, seamstress Ruth Spooner was busy building her one sewing machine operation with custom surf trunks that were heralded across the islands for their unmatched quality. Soon, Reyn and Ruth began their partnership. Reyn would design board shorts and shirts and Ruth would see to their thoughtful construction. Soon Ruth merged her business with Reyn’s, and the name Reyn Spooner was born in 1961.
Brooks Brothers of the Pacific
At first, Reyn felt the traditional Aloha shirts had too bold a print and wanted to improve upon the look and construction of the Aloha shirt. Then someone showed him an inside-out shirt sewn by a local bartender/surfer, Reyn had a lightbulb moment. He combined the inside-out method with his own eye for more sophisticated prints and paired it with the classic tailoring of an oxford cloth shirt. In essence, he combined surfer “cool” with Ivy League traditionalism and created something that was attractive to entrepreneurs, artists, business leaders and surfers alike. His innovations continued with the introduction of Spooner Kloth™, a blend of cotton and spun poly that’s amazingly durable, wrinkle free and breathable. Reyn created enduring classics that paved the way for the Aloha shirt’s acceptance around the globe and earned Reyn Spooner the designation, “Brooks Brothers of the Pacific.”
In 1962, the Hawaiian Fashion Guild, with Reyn as a leading member, began promoting Aloha shirts as an acceptable workplace attire. During “Operation Liberation”, the Guild gave two Aloha shirts to every member of the Hawaii House and Senate. The resulting resolution recommended Aloha attire ‘be worn in the summer months for comfort and to support the 50th state’s garment industry’. The Guild then lobbied for “Aloha Friday”, allowing men to wear Aloha shirts at work all year. The idea took hold and Aloha Friday officially began in 1966 in Hawaii.
Hawaii’s custom of Aloha Friday quickly spread east to California and then beyond. By the ‘90s, it became known as Casual Fridays around the globe. Today, Aloha shirts are worn as business attire in Hawaii any day of the week. “Aloha Friday” is now a way for Hawaiians to say TGIF and is well captured in the 1982 Kimo Kahoano and Paul Natto song, “It’s Aloha Friday, No Work ‘til Monday.” This song is heard on most Hawaii radio stations every Friday.
Today, Reyn Spooner has grown from that first store in Hawaii — still located at Ala Moana Center — to a global presence with modern, high quality Aloha inspired apparel built on tradition and innovation. We are still focused on that combination of relaxed “cool” island style with unique artwork and consummate tailoring.