I collect vintage midcentury “Hawaiian label” clothing from brands like Alfred Shaheen and Kamehameha. Unfortunately, none of my real vintage fits at the moment due to health issue-related weight gain. Fortunately, Unique Vintage has licensed the Kamehameha and Shaheen names, labels, clothing designs, and fabric prints to bring us reproductions of some of these great labels’ most popular styles (swing and sarong). Even better, everything in these lines is on closeout, so if you can find your favorite style and print in your size, you’ll get a deal.
I have more thoughts on these reproductions (and will probably share them later on, along with more photos), but suffice it to say I think they do a good job of replicating the originals. They aren’t cheap, but they aren’t $300+++, either, and if your waist isn’t under 34″, these will actually fit you. In fact, all of the UV Shaheen and Kamehameha items for women were originally available in sizes XS-4X (with the exception of the Alani Bolero, which only came in the straight sizes as far as I know). Just be aware that the sizing varies, so check the size chart to make sure you know what you’re getting.
In these photos, I’m wearing the Kamehameha Kalani Swing Dress in 2x with the matching Ronnie Bolero in the same size. I’m about 48″-38″-54″ these days, and the 2x is a very comfortable fit. It’s probably too big, but I hate when things are super-tight. FYI, I have no idea what that weird lump is on my left arm. It’s been there since 1998 and makes the left arm 2+ inches bigger than my right, no matter how small or big I am.
The print is Kamehameha’s Bird of Paradise. The labels say these are made of a hand-washable rayon, but I’d dry clean the bolero as the lining fabric bleeds through a bit if you get it wet (the original-run UV Shaheens came with labels that said hand wash only, but then UV sent out a warning NOT to hand wash them – dry clean only!). The Kamehameha dress, on the other hand, survived the hand-wash with no trouble.
The style/construction is pretty much exactly the same as my original Kamehameha swing sundresses, right down to the zipless construction and the little bow on the front of the bodice (my vintage bows can be untied and re-tied, though, while the repro bow is sewn in place).
Same with the Shaheen pieces, which are 100% cotton. The only real difference I could spot with those was the fact that UV used what looks like a poly/acetate bodice lining in some of the pieces, rather than the original white cotton muslin linings in my vintage Shaheens in the same cuts. The general shape fit is almost the same as the vintage, right down to some of the…not-so-ideal elements. But I’ll save that discussion for another day.