By: Michaella Jean A. De Leon
One of the most neglected sides of society is fashion. Fashion has been used to distinguish each country. The Kilts of Scotland, Tracht of Southern Germany and Austria; Maasai beadwork of Kenya; Nagaland of Northern India; Changing the Guard outfit from Seoul, South Korea; The Baro at Saya of the Philippines; and many other types of clothing are now labeled as traditional because of the changing markets and trends.
A lot of people want to become trendy like everyone else. Many have been running to the nearest stall to buy trendy tops, shorts, and even jewelry just to be “in.” People used to say it was our freedom to choose what outfit makes us more comfortable, for it will make us more confident. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to become confident, but what about our roots? The culture that our national heroes protected? Were their sacrifices to preserve our roots left in vain? Is it just for freedom? What about the long history of culture?
The Philippines is known as the country with the second-largest archipelago, and within this archipelago lies a very colorful fashion culture. One of the most famous fashion cultural pieces that the Philippines has is native attire, like the bahag. Now, it is still worn in some regions for special occasions. Baro at saya was used only when dancing tinikling and other traditional dances in school plays but not daily. The filipiniana and barong tagalog are worn only in gatherings, mainly when someone passes away, because it’s the outfit of the deceased before they lay in their grave.
Isn’t it hilarious? The outfits displayed in a museum and marked as one of the country’s treasures are now worn occasionally by a select few because of the freedom and globalization that were defined as the ideas that could unite the world.
As new generations arise, I hope to see youngsters wear these traditional fashion pieces and begin to connect to and embrace their unique culture.