The story begins in 1953, when Mort Feldman, a successful apparel manufacturer in Chicago, moved to Hawai'i to retire. Retirement didn't suit Mr. Feldman, and together with his soon-to-be wife, Janice Moody, and pattern maker Mitsue Aka, founded Tori Richard, Ltd. The company was named after one of Mort's three sons, Richard, and one of Janice's daughters, Victoria. Tori Richard, Ltd. was born with the singular philosophy of bringing sophistication to women's resort wear. Only the finest fabrications were to be selected and all artwork for prints would be designed by and exclusive to the company.
The first factory was on Pier 7 in downtown Honolulu. At high tide it was not unusual to see wet floorboards. As the business quickly grew, Feldman moved the factory to a Quonset hut on Beretania Street in Honolulu.
Tori Richard established itself as one of the nation's premier purveyors for women's resort wear. Prints were bold and dramatic. The primary fabrics were 100% cotton sateen and jacquards along with some silk weaves. Exclusive stores across the country loved the powerful statement Tori Richard garments made in advertisements and window displays. As was the trend at the time, the A-line dress was the most popular style.
In 1966, Mort Feldman & Howard Hope of Sun Fashions, as vice president and president of the Hawaii Fashion Guild, lobbied the state legislature to proclaim every Friday between Memorial Day and Labor Day, "Aloha Friday. The measure was adopted and "aloha attire" became the official dress of the state of Hawai'i. This effort is largely credited as the precursor to the national Casual Friday movement in the 1990s.
By 1968, Tori Richard had nearly 200 employees with dedicated showroom offices in Dallas, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York and Atlanta. Tori Richard women's sportswear could be found in the best stores of the era; Saks Fifth Avenue, I. Magnin, Neiman Marcus, Lord & Taylor, Marshall Fields and Nordstrom, to name a few. The company archives are full of advertisements in Vogue Magazine, Harpers Bazaar and The New York Times.
At the request of an important national department store, Tori Richard started offering some men's shirts made from the same dramatic and bold prints the women's collection came from. Colors were changed but the print inspiration was the same. By the 1970s, Tori Richard was completely enmeshed in the men's resort apparel business.
Early in the 1970's, "Tegaki" handprints were introduced. Created in Osaka, Japan, 12-yard pieces of fabric were strung between bamboo poles and actually hand painted by teams of artisans working in pairs. This resulted in beautiful prints with no two garments alike. Tori Richard, Ltd. printed over one million yards of Tegaki in the 1970s, entirely by hand! These fabrics made unique dresses and shirts with the guarantee the wearer would never see another just like it.
A company signature and proprietary fabrication, Cotton Lawn, was first developed and used. With an exclusive finish, and construction and process available only from Tori Richard, Ltd. this fabric remains a staple today.
Click here to shop our Cotton Lawns.
In the 1980's, Tori Richard continued to be defined by dramatic, resort-inspired prints. Styles and patterns were influenced by art and fashion trends of the decade. Color pallettes shifted, and geometric lines and shapes came to the forefront.
Our men's business was extremely fast growing during this time and by the end of the decade had eclipsed our women's dress and lounge business. The Tori Richard aloha shirt became the standard men's attire for the only state in the U.S. with its own official mode of dress.
Mort Feldman retired from the company in 1983 and moved his family to New Zealand. He returned in 1986 but continued work in other entrepreneurial endeavors. His youngest son, Josh, worked occasionally in the company warehouse while he was in school. Through much of the 1980s, the dramatic women's styles and prints the company was known for were no longer produced. Feldman's retirement from the business resulted in the company focusing primarily on its growing men's business.
In 1994, Mort Feldman, who was living in California, returned to Honolulu with his youngest son Josh to re-invent the company and set it on a new path. With an art background, Josh was put in charge of product & print development along with rebuilding the mainland sales offices and distribution. As a result, our products can now be found in over 1500 specialty stores throughout the country. Find a store near you or shop our online store.
Inspired by the company's 1950s and 60s print engineering in women's dresses, Tori Richard re-introduced the engineered men's shirt in 1996. This became a new trend for printed men's shirts having a hallmark of both front panel matching and motif placement of large scale, whimsical prints. This print style was worn by celebrities and a few world renown musicians wore the shirts in concert and on album covers.
Slowly, the company's prominence and reputation as a print house was re-established. By 1999, Tori Richard was designing and printing over 400 textile designs a year.
Tori Richard was firmly re-entrenched as a sought-after, quality brand well known for its textile designs. In 2002, the company re-launched its women's line. In 2003, Tori Richard opened its first retail store at the Hyatt Regency Waikiki, richly showcasing the clothing as works of art, alongside artifacts and jewelry from around the world. Over the next several years, Tori Richard opened stores at Ala Moana Center, The Shops at Wailea on Maui, Hilton Hawaiian Village, the Royal Hawaiian Hotel and, most recently, Whaler's Village in Kaanapali, which opened on February 8th, 2010.
In 2006, Tori Richard retail won the "Resort Retailer of the Year" award from the Retail Merchants Hawai'i and in the same year celebrated its 50th Anniversary. A 50th anniversary retrospective coffee table book, entitled, The First Firty Years by Jocelyn Fujii was published. It can be found in any of our retail locations as well as here in our online store.
In 2008, Tori Richard introduced its "Tori Vintage" line taking even some of the most dramatic of our archives and reinventing them with modern styling and colors. In December of 2008, Tori Richard, Ltd became one of the world's first solar powered apparel manufacturers and retailers. This unique, $1.1 million photo voltaic system provided our corporate headquarters and warehouses in Honolulu with 94% of all its electricity needs.
We believe in the unshakeable power of community, and that we play a part in making ours thrive. Since 1956, we've cut and sewn our products in Honolulu whenever possible, and proudly continue to do so today.
Whenever you see this label, you will know that this garment was proudly made in Hawai'i, USA.
For over 40 years, Tori Richard Uniforms (TRU) has provided businesses with the highest-quality uniform solutions. From resorts to locally-owned businesses and everything in between, TRU specializes in providing uniforms that fit each client's specific needs for functionality, comfort and style.