Hawaiiana and Beyond: O‘ahu’s Vintage Shops Reveal History and Tickle Nostalgia

Posted in: Editor's Blog, Shopping, Things to Do

By Richard Melendez, Digital Editor

Aloha shirts at Bailey's
A selection of vintage Aloha shirts at Bailey's Antiques & Aloha Shirts
[Photo Bailey's Antiques & Aloha Shirts]

Hawai‘i is well known for its shopping opportunities—from Waikiki’s luxury stores to its kitschy souvenirs, from big-box outlets to small pop-ups by local artisans. But for some, shopping isn’t all about hunting down the hottest brands or trendy designs. Sometimes, a little trip into the way-back machine is in order.

Hawai‘i’s unique history and isolated locale make it a great spot for seeking out vintage goods. Visit any of our antique shops, record stores, thrift shops and even garage sales, and you’re sure to make some great finds that you wouldn’t come across outside of the islands.

If antiquing is your thing, there are a handful of antique shops in and around Waikīkī, including the neighboring on the outskirts of Waikīkī on Kapahulu Avenue and further up on Wai‘alae Avenue, along with a few in Honolulu’s Chinatown and the adjacent Downtown area. These shops are wildly different in their selection and feel, yet all satisfy that joy of exploring as you peruse artifacts of years gone by. (Personally, I enjoy the stately quirkiness of Hound & Quail, Tin Can Mailman for Hawaiiana, and Bailey’s Antiques & Aloha Shirts for vintage alohawear.)

If collecting old, new, and hard to find music is your thing, visit Honolulu’s burgeoning Kaka‘ako district and dig through the crates at Hungry Ear Records or Ideas Music & Books. Hawai‘i’s special musical heritage will reveal unexpected and delightful treasures. Book lovers, by the way, will also enjoy Ideas for their selection of tomes, as well as comic books.

While we’re on the subject of books, you’ll want to pay a visit to Books @ Mark's, operated by The Friends of the Library Hawai‘i, with proceeds going to help sustain our local libraries. The Friends of the Library Hawai‘i also operate regular pop-up book sales throughout the state that are a must for bibliophiles and bargain hunters, alike. A few dollars will go a long, long way at these events. Much of what's residing on my bookshelves at home was found at these book sales.

Lastly, try to check out a collectible trade show like the annual Hawaii Collectors Expo and the quarterly Wiki Wiki One Day Vintage Collectibles & Hawaiiana Show. These events are treasure troves of both history and nostalgia and draw diverse crowds that range from the die-hard collectors to the dabblers. Whatever your level of interest, these are always eye-opening and fun.

Wiki Wiki One Day Vintage Collectibles & Hawaiiana Show
Unexpected finds at the Wiki Wiki One Day Vintage Collectibles & Hawaiiana Show
[Photo Wiki Wiki One Day Vintage Collectibles & Hawaiiana Show]

This is far from a comprehensive list, but should hopefully give some of you a good starting point on your hunting adventures. If you have a favorite shop, let us know!

Happy Hunting!


A selection of vintage Aloha shirts at Bailey's Antiques & Aloha Shirts [Photo Bailey's Antiques & Aloha Shirts]


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