HONOLULU – Jams World, Hawaii’s most iconic and colorful clothing brand, proudly celebrates 50 years of making great clothes for real people in Honolulu, Hawaii since 1964. The company is as young and free-spirited as the day it was born with deep roots in the ocean and surfing, a passion for vibrant colors, the freedom to dress the way you feel and the courage to be different, all with humor and a love of life.
Jams World founder, Dave Rochlen, the son of a Russian-born journalist, was a lifeguard, surfer, paddleboard racer and dirt bike rider in Santa Monica in the 1940s and 50s before he came to Hawaii in 1962 when he opened a surf shop called Surf Line Hawaii. Searching for something comfortable to wear while surfing, he was inspired by a LIFE magazine article that showed Russian tourists swimming in the Black Sea wearing bathrobes and pajamas to the beach. Dave bought some brightly printed fabric and asked his wife, Keanuenue, to make him a short pajama with a few modifications: sew up the fly, and cut off at the knee. It was here that Jams® were born.
Dave’s Jams shorts were baggy, colorful and fun – unlike anything on the market at the time – and soon his surfing buddies wanted a pair too. He sold his shorts out of the trunk of his car at Makaha Beach and at his Surf Line Hawaii surfboard shop. Mike Doyle, then surfing’s world champion, wore the first pair at Makaha in1964. Butch Van Artsdalen, a North Shore surf pioneer and one of the first surfers to ride the Banzai Pipeline, began wearing Jams too. Soon surfers began to flock to the store not just for their boards, but to score a pair of the must-have Jams shorts.
“It’s amazing that this whole thing started when my dad couldn’t find that right pair of surf shorts and my mom began sewing at the kitchen table,” said Pua Rochlen, son of Dave and now president of Jams World. “We’re excited to be celebrating our 50th anniversary in business as we continue to bring an appealing twist to traditional aloha attire, always made with the best prints around.”
Determined to spread Jams throughout the world, Dave pitched his story to LIFE magazine. They ran a two-page spread featuring Dave and his buddies as the models. The LIFE article brought this new beachwear to the masses and the trend took off.
Jams evolved into Jams World, a casual lifestyle wear brand for both men and women and was known for its art-driven aesthetic, highest standards of beauty, uniqueness and quality. In 1978, MEN’S WEAR named Jams one of the nation’s top 50 brands. In the 1980s Jams partnered with household name brands Converse, Fossil and Wrigley’s Gum. More recently, in 2013 Jams World received the Governor’s Fashion Award for Lifetime Achievement for the company’s contribution to Hawaii’s fashion industry.
The Jams World of today continues its philosophy of color, freedom, difference, humor and love, upholding a long-lasting commitment to producing great clothes that transcend markets and seasons. Jams searches the world for hand-painted art that inspires and screen prints it on exclusive spun crushed rayon. Each print has coordinating hand-painted buttons created by a California artist. All garments are manufactured in Honolulu, Hawaii.
“It is my passion to continue on my father’s legacy creating great clothes for real people and, as always, made in Hawaii since 1964,” Pua Rochlen said. “I’m committed to moving Jams forward for the next 50 years.”
Jams World now has six stores on Oahu, Maui and Hawaii Island featuring clothing, jewelry, accessories and gifts. Jams World apparel is available in 33 U.S. mainland states and internationally in Australia, Canada, Japan, China, Korea, the Caribbean, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The company employs 85 people with some having worked for Jams for more than 40 years.
Other 50-year celebrations include “Jams World Day,” a chance to unite in a world of color by donning your favorite Jams World garment, and a competition for fashion students to design a new look for the next upcoming collection.
Post your photos from over the years of Jams World moments on the company’s Facebook page now through September 30, 2014. Photos may capture a day at the beach, a birthday celebration, ‘Aloha Friday’ or a celebrity captured wearing Jams World. Gift certificates will be awarded to photos with the most likes.
More information about the 50th anniversary celebrations to come soon.
For more information about Jams World visit Jamsworld.com