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History of Philippine Fashion

Introduction For several centuries, during the colonial period, the Philippines has been severely immersed in foreign influences particularly by Spain, Japan and America. Consequently their culture, lifestyle, customs and fashion sense has been mainly defined by influences from these countries as well. However, before the colonization, Philippines has yet to establish its own identity; thus what became the Philippines’ foundation for instituting their nationalistic character was basically colonially inspired. Through the teachings and traditions shared by the colonizers to the country, the Philippines grew to be a very “foreign” country.

The Filipino people however did try to determine their own Filipino character but not without incorporating the foreign characteristics they have acquired during the hundreds and hundreds of years they experienced with foreign powers. The Spanish Colonial Era was the longest colonization the Philippines was subjected under. Naturally, the country has picked up a lot of the Spaniard influences. Three hundred years under Spain’s rule brought about alterations and innovations to the Filipino way of life. Before the Spaniards came, the Filipino fashion style of the sixteenth century was mainly simple yet functional.

During the Pre-Spanish colonization, the Filipino people were dressed up only with collarless shirts called “canga” and wraps known as “bahag” for their bottoms. However once the Spaniards came to the country, modifications were made on the Filipino fashion sense. What is now known as the Barong Tagalog is the result of the evolution of the “canga”. Laces, trimmings and adornments and collars were added to the simple collarless shirt. Embroidery and buttons also became apparent on the “canga”. While the “bahag” was then replaced with trousers. This is also the same for the female costume counterpart of the Barong Tagalog, the Baro’t Saya.

The Spanish influence on the Baro’t Saya are seen in the designs and patterns of inticate embroidery. The Spanish colonial Era also introduced the use of hats and shoes as fashion staples in the Filipino style during the 1500’s to the 1800’s. After the Spaniards, the Americans were the next most influential factor in the evolution of the true Filipino style. Since the Barong Tagalog and Baro’t Saya were not practical to wear on a tropical country like the Philippines. The Filipino people opted to follow the American style of comfort. Thus, departing from the glamorous and voluminous ilhouette of the Spanish. Layers and embroidery were lessened and the kinds of fabrics used were more comfortable like pure cotton. (Te, 2007). Because of these colonizations, the true Filipino fashion style ceased to exist. Now, at present the Filipino people are still struggling to establish their own fashion identity. There is no distinct Filipino fashion style since we are mainly dictated by foreign influences that dominates the fashion world; similarly the pioneers of Philippine fashion industry are also subjected to the same international influence. Thesis Statement

There is no distinct Filipino fashion style since we are mainly dictated by foreign influences that dominates the fashion world; similarly the pioneers of Philippine fashion industry are also subjected to the same international influence. Defining the Filipino Style Tracing its origins, Filipinos had long since been very innovative and creative in the kind of clothes that they wear. The early settlers wore bahag, a loincloth commonly used by Filipino men before the European colonizers arrived. This is mostly used by indigenous tribes in the mountains, and until now, is still used in the Cordilllera Mountain.

But this is not being looked down upon as a lowly garment as it is made of well-chosen materials, woven in intricate designs that are unique with each individual wearing it. The Barong Tagalog and Baro’t Saya are the country’s national costume. The barong is made of a variety of fabrics like the pina fabric, jusi, and banana fabric. This is worn by men during official and special personal occasions. Nowadays, the barong has now been modernized with the polo barong, “gusot-mayaman” (“gusot” means “wrinkled” and “mayaman” means “wealthy”), linen barongs and shirt-jack barongs. The baro’t saya is the national dress and is worn by women.

This is characterized by having a huge panuelo or shawl around the shoulders, and the terno, having the butterfly sleeves popularized by former First Lady Imelda Marcos. As the years passed, the influence of the West and the influence of the East on local fashion has made Filipino fashion an eclectic one. Some of the popular Filipino fashion designers we have today include Mich Dulce, Rafe Totengco, and Monique Lhuillier. Looking at its fashion in recent times, it is noticeable that the Philippines has no single fashion style, because the Filipinos as a people have never really developed their own identity.

Being colonized by Spaniards for over 300 years, the culture has been heavily influenced and, consequently, both dominated and saturated. This influence is evident in almost every aspect of life – the language, lifestyle, behaviour, clothing, and food. Despite the proclamation of independence from the Spaniards, the Philippines were and still are dominated by Western culture, particularly the American culture. Ruling out the colonization, the Philippines has already had outside influence from its neighbouring countries (China, India) and even Arab influences due to trade.

Therefore, even before colonization, the people already had hints of foreign culture incorporated into their lives. Identifying the Filipino Fashion Designers and their Design Inspirations. As we consider the designers of the Philippine fashion industry, we thought of the biggest names that made this industry loud and proud. As we tag their names along, we will be reviewing their profiles in the next section and take a good look at how they all started and how their works are being inspired by other cultures or countries. Jun Escario Rajo Laurel Patrice Ramos-Diaz Inno Sotto Paul Cabral Lulu Tan Gan

Design Inspirations Jun Escario {text:list-item} {text:list-item} {text:list-item} {text:list-item} {text:list-item} {text:list-item} {text:list-item} Rajo Laurel {text:list-item} {text:list-item} {text:list-item} {text:list-item} {text:list-item} {text:list-item} {text:list-item} Patrice Ramos – Diaz {text:list-item} {text:list-item} Inno Sotto {text:list-item} Paul Cabral {text:list-item} Lulu Tan Gan {text:list-item} {text:list-item} {text:list-item} {text:list-item} Foreign Influences on Philippine Fashion The history of the Philippines says a lot about the culture of the Filipinos today.

Spain and America colonized us, which explains our very Western language, food, music, customs, traditions and even fashion. Filipino fashion is highly dictated by our colonizers; even our own ternos was influenced by Spain. According to Paul Rodell “_the contemporary terno evolved from a much older union of the European style skirt…the saya and the tapis… “_(2002). Also “_during the nineteenth century…upper-class Filipinos began a wholesale adoption of the Spanish style of dress__” (2002). _This goes to show that even our ancestors did not have a unique style of dressing since they just adapted the style of the Europeans.

Since we did not have a clear fashion soul from the start our identity now is still not well defined as compared to other countries. Furthermore, the European style of dressing is highly evident in the silhouettes of our clothes and in the influence of popular designers. Not just the Spanish but also the other European countries influence us as well. Filipinos dress glamorously but in a toned down manner. Our own designers just like their European counterparts design clothes with a clear silhouette and good detailing. Patrice Ramos Diaz for one featured very intricate draping for her collection.

Also, Some of them incorporate embroidery and lace with their clothes, which is very European just like what Jun Escario did with his tops and dresses. For one of his collection, he made use of laces, sheer cloth with embroidery and feathers or rosettes. Moreover, one key factor for the French Style is the use of lighter fabrics. Since the Philippines is a tropical country, we incorporate this style to be able to adapt to the very hot weather. This influence just goes to show that the Philippines do not have a clear fashion identity.

Sure designers use local textiles and incorporate Maria Clara and Barong Tagalog in their works from time to time but it still is not that evident. There is no clear look that can be called Philippine fashion. The Western country dictates what is in fashion and what is out. Filipinos just follow the trends, we mix and match and just add a little something from our own. Conclusion We, the researchers, understand and respect Philippine fashion because we very well grew up with it. We have bits and pieces of the European and American taste when it comes to our whole approach not just in design and marketing but as a whole presentation.

Which sometimes – or most of the time – takes us away from what we have been aiming for: Filipino Identity. It’s a question of sticking to our identity, which is to copy everything the western countries do or creating our own identity in fashion. This paper hopes to open our minds that in time, we’ll be able to create our own style. If London’s new generation of designers popularized the “so-called edgy” look by renewing streetwear and traditional English tailoring into modern classics, then what can we expect from the new generation of Philippine fashion designers? What would be our counterpart?

For example – do we still want to push the ideas of terno or Maria Clara? Or should it just stay as a national costume for special occasions? We think we underestimated what we can do to make a terno modern – we can probably play with the texture, layering, refining, flattering silhouettes, exaggerating shapes, adding fluidity to the traditional stiffness. New ideas should be able to form, grow and spread. We believe that young Filipino designers have the potential and draw creatively on our past to recreate an image for the future, sketching conflicting fears and desire on one body which is the young Filipino consumer.

We believe it is possible as long as we also believe that fashion is an appropriate arena in which to investigate the complexities of modern life. Bibliography and Works Cited Filipino Clothing in Retrospect. http://www. philippine-travel-guide. com/filipino-clothing. html Philippine Fashion and Its Influences Bianca Huang Christine Rodriguez Jaqueline Therese Romasanta Austin Trinidad November 13, 2009 Table of Contents Introduction Thesis Statement Define the Filipino style Identifying the Filipino Fashion Designers Inspiration for their collection and works Foreign influences on Filipino fashion.

Thesis Statement: “Since the sixteenth century, the influence of foreign cultures has had a substantial influence on Filipino fashion as demonstrated by its evolution from indigenous customs to contemporary creations.” (Filipino Clothing in Retrospect)

“From the early 1900s up to present day, Filipino designers have created collections that reflect influences from around the world.” (Christine Rodriguez)

“By 1911, native costumes were only worn during dances or by those who made a living reenacting them for tourists. Street clothes were imitations of those seen in American movies and magazines, resulting in a whole new look that was uniquely Filipino. Everyday attire favored simpler dresses with less ornamentation.” (Austin Trinidad)

1. The Spanish colonizers introduced the idea of shoes to the Philippines; specifically the Marikina Shoe Industry: “the first documented proof of footwear manufacturing by Filipinos can be found in 1630, when Governor Sabiniano Manrique de Lara ordered shoemakers from Tondo and Manila to come to Intramuros (Rizal Park now occupies this site) to make footwear for his troops.” (Christine Rodriguez)

2. In pre-colonial times, clothing styles were based on practicality rather than fashion as they were made from fiber that grew in abundance in the country.

3. Pre-colonial clothing styles are identified by the materials used, these are Abaca fabric for men and women’s dresses were made out of cotton.

4. The Filipino fashion design industry began to develop during the American colonial period when laws enforcing Western dress were implemented for both males and females, which led to numerous fashionable creations by Filipino designers inspired by Western styles.

5. “In 1949, Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature added a Most Popular Costume Grand Prize.” (Filipino Clothing in Retrospect)

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1 thought on “History of Philippine Fashion”

  1. First of all thank you for acquiring the knowledge of our Filipino fashion. I had a discussion with my English partner of colonialism, despite of the research to know what was there dress , maybe going to a simple what material do they use as a mean of covering or we call now a days dress or clothing.. bec before their fashion was less materials and more on tattooed, how about the women when did they start weaving, what materials and who told them how to dye. I’m really curious bec I cannot accept that Maria Clara and barong is our national dress/ costume influences by the Spanish. Don’t you think, it will great to know what is our own and developed it from there. Good Luck


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