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Hilo Hattie Brand History
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Hilo Hattie Brand History

Many Legacies, One Vision

Our story is a testament to the power of collaboration and shared passion. It weaves together the legacies of three iconic Hawaiian companies—Evelyn Margolis Fashions, Pomare, and Royal Hawaiian Creations—each leaving an indelible mark on the world of Hawaiian fashion, retail, and manufacturing. Together, they laid the foundation for Hilo Hattie, a brand synonymous with the spirit of aloha.

Evelyn Margolis Fashions: A Legacy of Innovation (1960s - 1970s)

In 1964, Evelyn Margolis set out to redefine Hawaiian fashion with her stylish Hawaiian clothing boutique in Hilo, Hawaii. Creating award-winning designs that incorporated internationally trending styles with cutting-edge modern materials, her garments remain relevant and coveted by collectors decades later. A friendship with renowned performer and Hawaiian cultural ambassador Clarissa "Hilo Hattie" Haili blossomed into a partnership, further immersing Evelyn in the local community and culture. Evelyn's connection with her employees, vendors, and the people of Hawaii became her biggest reward for her hard work.

Pomare: Expanding Horizons (1960s - 1980s)

Simultaneously, Pomare emerged in Hawaii during the 1960s, finding great success in providing Aloha-inspired apparel to the world. In 1979, Jim Romig, the owner of Pomare, acquired the Hilo Hattie named apparel line and retail stores, along with the factory belonging to Margolis Manufacturing and Retail Company, solidifying Pomare's presence in the market.

The Emergence of Hilo Hattie, The Store of Hawaii

Combining the Hilo Hattie brand with Pomare's plans for the future, The Store of Hawaii emerged and gained international recognition as a must-visit destination on the islands. With great expansion of stores and product offerings, Hilo Hattie became a household name in homes fond of Hawaii. Named in honor of Hawaii's beloved ambassador of aloha, Hilo Hattie embodied the essence of Hawaiian hospitality and culture, offering a diverse range of products that celebrated the beauty and spirit of Hawaii.

Royal Hawaiian Creations: Crafting Tradition (2009 - Present)

In 2009, Royal Hawaiian Creations entered the fold, acquiring Pomare and becoming a key player in the Hilo Hattie story. Royal Hawaiian Creations was founded by Donald Bum Sik Kang, a successful Korean American entrepreneur, in 1982. Mr. Kang started as an independent merchant with a booth in the International Marketplace in Waikiki selling Hawaiian apparel. After rising through the ranks to president of the merchant association, through dedication and hard work, Mr. Kang transformed his small business into one of Hawaii's largest apparel manufacturing and wholesale companies. Additionally, recognizing the need to support small businesses, he founded a community bank to better serve their needs in Hawaii.

Merging Legacies: Forging the Future

In a poetic turn of events, most recently, Josh and Heidi Margolis, the grandson and granddaughter-in-law of Evelyn Margolis, have taken the helm. They acquired Pomare and Royal Hawaiian Creations, combining the manufacturing capabilities of Royal Hawaiian with the brand prestige of Hilo Hattie. Inspired by the legacy of Evelyn Margolis, Jim Romig, Don Kang, Auntie Clara "Hilo Hattie" Haili, and the generations of team members who contributed to making Hilo Hattie the Store of Hawaii, Josh and Heidi Margolis bring a deep sense of reverence and commitment.

As we look to the future, guided by the spirit of aloha and the lessons of the past, we remain committed to spreading joy and sharing the magic of Hawaii with the world.

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