international fashionGlobalization does for fashion what immigration has done for the food industry. Creates business opportunities and give us choices. This is especially true for men who are tired of the same old, same old pants, shirts, and jackets.

Indian designers  are adding pizzaz to boring old shirts and ties. In many warm climes men wear skirts or skirt-like bottoms called dhoti/veshti or lungi in India, and sarong in Southeast Asia and Sri Lanka. In Africa men wear kanga (or khanga), kitenge (or chitenje), kikoy, and lappa,  and in Samoa the item is called a  lavalava.   They are great on a summer day, nice and cool. The Scottish, too, despite the rain and cold, wear kilts.  Perhaps the international custom of men’s skirt wearing  will give American men the kind of freedom Western women have gained from throwing off our skirts and girdles and wearing jeans and other pants without bscreen-shot-2016-11-08-at-1-42-06-pmeing accused of imitating men or being radicals.

“Incidentally, shirt and skirt have the same etymology: that of a unisex garment. Skirt [re-]entered the English vocabulary through Old Norse with many other “sk-” words (skin/shin, shatter/scatter, ship/skipper, score, sky…). The English shirt is a palatalised cognate of skirt. So you can always get away with it by stating that trousers were not en-vogue during the new kingdom era. At least in Egypt. – Alain Pannetier Φ Apr 8 ’14 at 8:50”

sariWomen, too, will benefit from an international focus. Nothing is better than an Indian sari when one is pregnant or postpartum or has gained a few pounds at holiday time.  It expands and contracts. All you need to do is make fewer or more pleats in front. Everyone fat, thin, short, tall looks gorgeous in the sari! And they never go out of style, so you can pass them on to your children and even your grandchildren.

Bad hair days can be hidden under Muslim-inspired head coverings. Or let’s say you hate your curly hair or straight hair or you need your roots done: various head coverings, including African  turbans and wraps to the rescue.  Muslim and Jewish traditions have much in common when it comes to women’s dress codes. After marriage, ultra-Orthodox Jewish women are required to cover their hair. It is a biblical law, that considers the hair so beautiful and alluring that it should not be shown in public after marriage lest it send a wrong signal. There are many ways of covering the hair. Some extreme ultra-Orthodox Jewish women shave their heads and wear only a kerchief (tichel) on their head. Most Yeshivish and Hasidic Jewish women wear wigs. Modern orthodox women might wear only a hat or other covering that covers only part of their hair. Each one of these coverings can give us ideas on how to enhance our own coiffeur. Maybe some of us will start a new business of designer head coverings. The millinery industry could use our creativity after years of hard times. I suppose many of them hoped that the fascinators popularized by Kate, the Kate of English royalty, would stimulate a return to hats. However, the industry still needs our help!

Hate being fat or thin or your big boobs or ginormous  butt?  There is a flattering dress for you. Look around the world. Every country, every shape has beauties.  Venture forth beyond your native dress and you too will be alluring. Welcome international designers and add them to your all-American jeans and we will have plenty of choices for every body type and every mood.

We have not even started to describe the variety of fabrics (furs, velvets, silks, cottons, woolens, linens) materials, patterns, and embroidery that are moving more and more into the American fashion vocabulary. Block prints, flowers, animals, cross stitch, delft ( Fashionistas will benefit from the exotic. In fact, they always have. Early American trade with the Far East brought embroidered fabrics and styles.

Paradoxically, the most American of activities is importing ideas and styles from abroad. However you voted in the past election. Let us begin healing our contentious election by acknowledging the shared interest we have in using the artisanal skills from other nations to enhance ourselves.



Can Fashion Globalization Help Heal Us? was last modified: by

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