Kariyushi wear, the Okinawan version of the aloha shirt, has grown in popularity as work attire over the last decade and has virtually replaced the conventional shirt-and-tie style of the past. Most business facilities in Okinawa, including banks, government offices and private companies, have adopted kariyushi wear as their summertime “uniform,” and people put away their suit jackets and start getting around the island in kariyushi wear in April, the month when the swimming season kicks off at most beaches.
During the hot summer months, kariyushi wear is commonly worn for dress occasions as well. In addition, some Okinawan parties even have a kariyushi “dress code.” Kariyushi wear comes in handy both in formal and informal situations. It can range from shirts sporting Hawaiian-style flower patterns to more traditionally Okinawan attire made of the uniquely dyed bingata or bashofu, an expensive fabric produced from banana fiber. Prices vary depending on brand and textile used, starting at around 3,000 yen. Custom-made kariyushi wear can be purchased for around 10,000 yen.
Specializing in tailoring Western-style dresses that incorporate bingata, Okinawa’s traditional dyed textile, Madonna Co., Ltd., also offers custom-made kariyushi wear (from 9,870 yen). The shop has a number of local celebrities and government officials among its clientele.