By Dan Nakaso
Advertiser Staff Writer
Mortimer Feldman had been a Chicago clothing manufacturer on a 1955 visit to see a buddy in Hawai'i when he decided to retire in the islands. A year later, the clothing company Tori Richard was born.
The company that now has its products sold in 2,500 specialty and "upscale" stores around the world started with just a single sewing machine in an office along Honolulu Harbor.
There have been many misconceptions about the company that Feldman founded.
The name was not based on one person but two — Feldman's children Victoria and Richard. And despite its reputation, Tori Richard is not a high-end aloha shirt company catering to men, although people such as Steve Case and Kevin Costner have been known to wear the brand.
Tori Richard Ltd. began with a focus on women's wear, and it wasn't until the late 1960s that the company branched out into men's wear.
And despite its island identification, most of the company's sales are outside of Hawai'i.
By 1969, Tori Richard was generating $2.5 million in annual sales and 70 percent to 80 percent of its business was centered on the Mainland, with only about 20 percent of its business in Hawai'i. Japan accounted for the rest of the sales.