Patti Tudisco, Coolies creator and designer, was born and raised in Southern California. She's always had a passion for sewing and design, making clothes for family and friends. She created the signature Aloha shirts worn by Tom Selleck on "Magnum P.I.", which, post-show, now hang at the Hard Rock Café in Waikiki and the Smithsonian Institute.
In 1997 Patti took two trips which changed her life and revealed her new passion. Surfing! The first was a trip to Bali. The second was to Maui. The inspiration for her rashguards came after a day of surfing at Honolua Bay with a friend. Sitting on the cliffs she thought how cool it would be to have a rashguard that offered not only protection but a splash of color, and, reflected the Hawaiian Spirit. That's the day the name Coolies came to be. As soon as Patti landed back in Los Angeles, she began researching how to make the best quality rashguard she could while incorporating her design ideas.
Patti's big break came at a surf industry trade show in Long Beach, CA. She was wearing one of her hibiscus print tops when Rabbit Kekai, host of the Surf Legends contest in Costa Rica, noticed her in the crowd. Kekai was drawn to the garment and knew he had stumbled upon something unique. He approached Patti, to ask about the top, and was even more impressed when he saw the quality close up.
Kekai persuaded both the sponsors of not only his contest to use Coolies, but also Triple Crown executive director Randy Rarick into using them for the North Shore contests. Coolies has been supplying rashguards for the Triple Crown ever since, along with many other professional contests and surf camps around the world.
Surfers aren’t the only ones clamoring for Coolies. We are pleased to announce that Coolies are now available to everyone! The brand has expanded into an array of products for men, women and kids, who surf, bodysurf, paddle board, canoe and kayak, sail, sailboard, wakeboard, wake skate or do just about anything by the waterside. Aloha!
Founder Patti (right) with her sister Barb—the other half of the coolie girls—enjoying the favorite sunset spot!