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Kahala, the label of Branfleet Sports Wear, was founded in 1936 by George Brangier and Nat Norfleet. This company was one of the first to switch from making strictly tailor-made shirts to making them through a manufacturing process. The company’s official name was changed to Kahala in 1951 (though Kahala was used as their label name starting in 1936). Surfing legend Duke Kahanamoku was associated with Kahala Sportswear (Branfleet) from the mid-1930s until 1943 as a fashion consultant. The “Duke” was associated with the company again in 1961. Kahala was always used on the label.
Dale Hope, co-author of The Aloha Shirt, purchased the legendary Kahala label in 1986 and led the company back into prominence. He serves as the art director for Kahala Sportswear at present.
1930’s Hawai‘i. A place of intrigue and romance, enchanting visitors from around the world. Beach boys paddled outrigger canoes into the Waikiki surf, giving their mainland guests a ride they’d never forget. During this time Kahala Sportswear was born, founded by Nat Norfleet, Sr. and George Brangier. They teamed up to offer tropical prints on comfortable styles to locals and visitors alike. Their passion for Hawai‘i and the Waikiki beach boy lifestyle permeated their designs. They made shirts and swimming trunks and enjoyed consistent sales.
By 1939, the Kahala label was being sold in finer department stores in Honolulu and on the mainland. Kahala Hawaiian Shirts became known for subtle, tasteful cotton prints. 70 years later, Kahala enjoys a following of loyal customers who recognize the company’s devotion to excellence in textile artwork and clothing styles with a personality that is distinctly Kahala. It represents a lifestyle that people identify with, whether they are Kama‘aina or visitors wanting to take a piece of Hawai‘i back home with them.
The Kahala ohana, or family, includes retailers, textile designers, artists and board-shapers all of whom feel a connection to the ocean. The vivid prints that distinguish Kahala shirts from others continue to grace most of our fabrications, including a new refined rayon/cotton/linen, the traditional cotton broadcloth, and a more progressive, garment-washed cotton. A full line of bottoms, including casual board shorts, rounds out the collection.
Let’s get back to the beach, early, before the winds pick up. Take in the smell of the sea and the colors on shore. Paddle out in a canoe, on a paddleboard or surfboard, or just cruise down the beach. Wear what’s comfortable. Rediscover Kahala Hawaiian Shirts. Living the dream since 1936.