Men's sportswear became popular in the 1930s with the adoption of the knit polo, crew-necked t-shirt, and short sleeved sport shirt. The new styles offered men alternatives to formal suits and all three became classics. At the same time, steamship travel to Hawaii boomed, creating a market for island souvenirs. Shirts and other items were brought back to the mainland by vacationers as well as servicemen who were stationed on the islands.
Chinese and Japanese immigrants to the islands owned the majority of the tailoring shops and used traditional fabrics, such as kimono silks, to make the first short sleeved, casual "Hawaiian" shirts in the early 1930s. In 1937, the name "Aloha Shirt" was trademarked.