“I’ve spent my career seeking out interesting stories and extremely talented artists with the hope that our work will find its way into people’s hearts and touch them on an emotional level.”
Born in 1953, Dale Hope was practically born right into the garment industry. His father, Howard Hope, made a living after the second World War by selling fabrics to a growing garment industry in Hawaii. After realizing that “you make more money selling made-up garments,” Howard Hope bought a small garment company in Honolulu. From a young age, Dale would go to work with his parents every day. While his parents designed apparel, he would play in imaginary forts built out of the fabric boxes that came from across the Pacific Ocean. Dale vividly remembers the custom shirts his father would make for him while he attended Punahou Schools, making Aloha shirts his go-to since childhood.
As a teenager, Dale transitioned from making forts with those boxes to breaking them down and carrying thousands of yards of imported fabrics to their second floor cutting room. A little further down the road, after Dale had attended one year of college, his father asked him to come and work for him to help with sales. Having worn Dave Rochlen’s Surfline Hawaii shirts since he was in middle school, Dale suggested that they move more in that direction.
Small and humble beginnings grew into a respectable men’s apparel brand under HRH label in 10 years time. This also propelled them into becoming the Local Motion licensee to make HRH’s aloha shirts and board shorts in the late 1970s. Shortly after this, Dale and his father started their own brand called Hawaiian Style, a brand that put emphasis on locally relevant lifestyle images. It turned into a brand that had struck home with a largely wide audience. In 1987, they acquired the name Kahala and changed the name of their company to Kahala by HRH, earning them the first Fashion Industry Governor's Cup, the Hawaii Manufacturer of the Year award.
On a sales and inspiration trip, while visiting an art gallery in Hilo, Dale came across a few amazing block prints that he envisioned would be ideal on shirts. After successfully collaborating with the original artist of the block prints, Avi Kiriaty, Dale branched out to other artists, enabling him to be able to offer even more diverse collections. “You really are in the business of selling art,” Dale’s father said.
Dale was eventually consulted by Tommy Holmes, author of The Hawaiian Canoe, to assist him in defining what should be included in a book about Aloha shirts. Dale provided a long list of the people and companies within the industry Holmes should consider talking with, to which Holmes replied, “This will be a project we do together- by Hope and Holmes.” Very unfortunately, Tommy Holmes passed away, and the project was left to Dale. After fumbling with the concept for the book for years, Dale took a year and a half sabbatical from Kahala and worked full time on the book that became “The Aloha Shirt” in 2000.
Dale Hope has done so much from the beginning until now, we would need a book on its own to cover it all. Dale is an absolute authority on Aloha shirts and we jumped at the opportunity to work with him on western shirts with Aloha prints. Today, we are honored to say that he is the Art Director for Western Aloha.
You can read more in depth about Dale Hope and his endeavors on his website.