Throwback Thursday: A Look At Reyn Spooner’s History

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Imagine yourself peeking through the windows of the original Reyn’s Men’s Wear store, located on the small island of Catalina. You wouldn’t see the bright prints and aloha apparel like you would normally see in the Reyn Spooner stores of today. You would see traditional men’s sport’s wear. It wasn’t until the next decade that Reyn McCullough, founder of Reyn Spooner, decided to introduce aloha shirts to his high-end menswear shop at the Ala Moana Shopping Center.

Original Reyn's Men's Sports wear in 1949 on the island of Catalina.

Original Reyn’s Men’s Sports wear in 1949 on the island of Catalina.

At the time, the only Hawaiian shirts available were poorly fitting garments made with kitschy Hawaiian prints. Reyn initially avoided the Aloha shirt, and felt that the bright prints clashed with his idea of refined menswear. Reyn’s style was menswear preppy, Ivy League, which is where the button-down Aloha shirt came into play. With this influence, Reyn transitioned these characteristics toward a classier, more sporty Aloha shirt. McCullough’s vision was simple: find and offer unique, quality Aloha apparel and swimwear, that his local customer could wear both professionally and casually. So he left behind his successful menswear shop on Catalina Island and headed to Honolulu.

Reyn McCollough

In 1956, Ruth Spooner opened Spooner’s of Waikiki and quickly built a reputation in Hawaii for manufacturing unique, quality surf trunks. Waikiki Beach, under the palms, celebrities and top surfers patronized Spooner’s Waikiki stand. With just one sewing machine the custom swimwear became known for its unique quality construction.

In 1962, Reyn McCullough teamed up with Ruth Spooner to ensure consistent quality and decided to merge the two company names to create Reyn Spooner in Honolulu. He then set up four sewing machines in the basement of their Ala Moana store to create quality Aloha apparel. Reyn began to work on something that reflected the island heritage through stylish prints, but also benefited the young gentlemen who worked in the islands and shopped at his store. This earned the company the title “Brooks Brothers of the Pacific”.

Reyn's Store front

In 1964, Spooner Kloth™ was born. This cloth combines the cool comfort of combed cotton with the wrinkle free properties of spun polyester. Spooner Kloth™ is guaranteed to give years of wash and wear durability. Because of fine garment details such as Reyn’s signature pullover-style, the match pocket technique and the reverse print, Reyn Spooner’s products were thought to have true characteristics of quality. Reyn’s signature reverse print soon became the other key ingredient to his island-inspired sportswear shirt. Men could wear these shirts under a blazer for a fine-dining resort destination or stand alone for daily wear.

Reyn inside Reyn's Men's Wear

With continued success, Reyn Spooner began to grow and then decided to go international in 1974. The company started shipping Aloha apparel to Japan, Australia, Canada and other international locations.

In 1984, Reyn Spooner collaborated with Van Dorn Shoes. Original Reyn Spooner prints are used for the company’s famous Van footwear.

In 1996, Reyn spooner teamed up with “lifestyle-artist” Eddy Y. to create specialty designed shirts featuring original Eddy Y. artwork. The first Reyn Spooner shirt designed by Eddy Y. is LeMans.

Reyn McCollough & Friends

Today, Reyn Spooner continues to develop new fabrications, models, and designs including the company’s newest innovation, the Modern Collection. This new apparel line combines traditional tailoring and a 1960’s preppy vibe with rich graphic archive prints. This collection was designed to appeal to a new generation of customers. The result is a re-engineered, re-scaled and re-colored collection, new and unique to a younger and more modern man. “We’re proud and honored to play such an influential role in the longstanding popularity and fame of the Aloha shirt,” said Reyn Spooner CEO Kirk Hubbard III. “The fact that Reyn Spooner Aloha shirts have been worn by everyone from local businessmen and entertainers to U.S. presidents and film starts is a testament to Reyn McCullough’s vision to create unique, well-tailored clothing that could be worn by men of all ages and lifestyles.”

Ala Moana Store Front Today
In recent years, Reyn Spooner has also collaborated with noted fashion brands such as Urban Outfitters, Stussy, Transpac and Opening Ceremony to create exclusive apparel.  Reyn Spooner has been adopted as a surf staple in California, claimed as classic American sportswear in Japan, and worn by huge celebrities like George Clooney in the movie “The Decendents”. Reyn Spooner’s source of inspiration will always be the Hawaiian heritage and fine tailor made garment detailing will always be our tradition. ALOHA!