Brand founder Reyn McCullough was born and raised on Catalina Island, just off the coast of California. After serving as a paratrooper in the Second World War, Reyn made a return to Catalina Island and secured a job in a menswear store Reyn instantly took a shining to the world of menswear and proved himself as a natural in fashion, marketing, and design, he excelled in such a way he bought his employer’s store in 1949 and renamed it Reyn’s Men’s Wear. Not long after, Reyn invested in another five stores in California, each becoming icons for their high-quality sportswear and resort clothing.
Until Reyn visited Hawaii for the first time in 1957, he refused to stock aloha shirts in his stores, shrugging them off as too loud and ill-constructed. For Reyn, the loose-fitting shirts with bright island prints just didn’t fit into the clean-cut menswear wardrobes of the 1950s. But after spending enough time on the tropical island, Reyn was truly encapsulated by the Hawaiin lifestyle—including its vibrant shirts.
When Reyn Met Spooner
When Reyn was moving his menswear operations to Honolulu, a young seamstress named Ruth Spooner had set up a business on Waikiki Beach, creating custom surf trunks. Spooner’s trunks and other custom swimwear crafted solely by Ruth Spooner on a singular sewing machine gained a reputation across the island for unbeatable quality and construction. Reyn noticed Spooner’s operation soon after moving to Hawaii and the pair began working together. Reyn partnered with Spooner to ensure top-quality construction of his sportswear lines. The pair officially merged in 1961, and the name Reyn Spooner was born.
Despite embracing the Hawaiian culture, Reyn still pretty hesitant when it came to traditional aloha shirts. But when a charismatic local bartender named Pat Dorian showed him his own line of inside-out aloha shirts, Reyn had an epiphany. The inside-out aloha fabric boasted muted colours that made for a more subtle pattern, something Reyn instantly appreciated.
The Beginning Of Aloha Fridays
Reyn Spooner’s new aloha shirts became an instant classic, proving popular with both Hawaiian natives and tourists. So much so that in 1962, the Hawaiian Fashion Guild began promoting Aloha shirts as appropriate workplace attire. In a movement they dubbed “Operation Liberation”, the Hawaiian Fashion Guild gifted two Aloha shirts to every member of the Hawaiian Senate. As a result, the Senate recommended Aloha attire “be worn in summer months for comfort and to support the 50th state’s garment industry”. The Guild then flexed even further and tried for “Aloha Friday”, a policy which would allow men to wear aloha shirts at work throughout the year. They were successful once again and Aloha Friday was officially born in 1966. This has influenced the whole world as we know it today, as a lot of businesses across the world now have "dress down Friday" well Reyn Spooner started it.