Kahala x KoAloha 'Ukulele

Images By John Hook

It Begins with a Tiny Ukulele

The Okami family never would have guessed they would become one of the world’s premier ‘ukulele builders nearly thirty years ago.

The origin story of KoAloha began when Alvin Okami, the family patriarch, was challenged by friend and fellow musician, Herb Ohta Sr., to create miniature playable ‘ukuleles for a local souvenir shop with frequent out-of-town shoppers. 

In 1995, with help from his wife, Pat, and sons, Alan and Paul, Alvin shuttered his plastics company and the KoAloha ‘Ukulele factory was born. Today, KoAloha has grown from making miniature figurines to masterfully crafting koa wood instruments beloved by people all around the world.

A Day in the Life

On any given day, you can find multiple generations of the Okami family working alongside their craftsmen in every part of the ‘ukulele-making process.

Alan and Paul, who now run the family business, have brought their sons, Noah, Lon, and Egan, into the fold. Each of them is assigned to a station in the factory for several months before rotating to learn every step in shaping a perfect KoAloha ‘ukulele.

 At midday, the Okamis and the crew pause their work, head upstairs to their lunchroom, and gather around a meal prepped by one of the family members. At KoAloha, everyone is family—and they make everyone who walks through their doors feel like it.

About The Print

Late 2021, the KoAloha family welcomed the Kahala team into the factory where our artists got to watch the Okamis work their ‘ukulele magic. After over a year of development, we’re excited to present our first collaboration of 2023.

 Our original print features hand-sketched profiles of KoAloha’s variety of koa wood ukuleles collaged with handwritten notes of characteristics specific to their instruments. From the distinguished outline of their five-point crowned headstock to their iconic "musubi" sound hole shaped like a Japanese rice ball, every unique detail of the KoAloha ukulele can be found in our aloha shirt.

This short sleeve style is made from our premium 100% cotton broadcloth—a durable woven fabric that's lightweight in feel. Offered in two colors, Black and Eggplant, the KoAloha print is available in men's, women's, and kid's sizing. Shop our styles in store and online today.


For more information about KoAloha and their ukuleles, head to their website: www.koaloha.com

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  • Cynthia Landon

    I toured the KoAloha factory in January and came home from Hawaii with two new KoAloha instruments. This was so fun to see both of my instruments on this shirt. I bought both colors, in the women’s style. I hope you will do more collaborations with KoAloha in the future! Thank you for making this in a women’s cut. That is so hard to find in Aloha shirts.

  • Rick Higgens

    Very cool story and my favorite ukulele builders! And I love the design! Gotta have one of these new Aloha shirts. Rick

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