Aloha. The island chain which now comprises the state of Hawaii was first settled by Polynesian explorers sometime between 800- 1000 AD. By the time the first Europeans made contact in the late 18th century, the native Hawaiians had established a rich and thriving culture which was strictly divided along caste lines. Social status was marked by what a person wore and this convention continued even after the arrival of Christian missionaries who forced their Western modes of dress on the native Hawaiians.
The pre-European dress included three distinct items; grass skirts, Kapa cloth garments and feathered attire.
Grass Skirts. Easily, the most identifiable symbol of Hawaii because of its association with traditional hula dancers, grass skirts were actually constructed from the outer bark and leaves of the banana tree. The skirt's waistband was tightly braided and fit the wearer snugly. Longer strands of fiber hung down from the waistband. Traditionally, the same fibrous material was fashioned into anklets and worn during ceremonial dances.
Kapa Cloth. This is also known as