Saturday, September 17

What is Filipino Fashion?

What makes a fashion Filipino? What sets it apart?

Ja and I browsed through the library and found that there was no definite meaning. Most of the books we found were about Baro’t Saya, Terno and Barong. These are already colonial influences. What is the true meaning of Filipino Fashion?

It dawned to me that Filipino Fashion is something you have to discover for yourself. It depends on each person on what her meaning is. As a Fashion Designer, you have to search inside what is Filipino in you that makes your clothes Filipino too.

Filipino Fashion is the history and identity of a true Filipino interpreted in clothes and accessories. Elements of this fashion dates back from pre-colonial times until the contemporary times.


Pre-colonial elements differs slightly from tribe to tribe. This is because each tribe has their own interpretations for each symbol and color.

  • Weave: Ikat, Tinalak, Yakan cloth, etc.
  • Cuts: bells sleeves, g-strings, tunic shirts, wraps etc.
  • tapis, malongs, sarongs
  • Beads, heavy in beading and accessories
  • Patterns: Scrolling(plants), Geometric, Anthromorphic(human shapes)
  • Animistic symbols
  • Letters and figures: Sanskrit from Muslim tribes, Alibata, Devanageri, Austronesian.
  • Color combinations
  • Stones, gold, brass, copper

Having colonized us for more than three hundred years, they left strong influences imbedded.

  • Weave: Jusi, PiƱa, etc.
  • Cuts: Terno, Baro’t Saya, Balntawak, Barong, etc.
  • Religious icons
  • Embroidery
  • Lace, panueallas

Other Influences
Chinese. Because of trade, we acquired elements from Chinese traders bringing us goods and influences.
Colors and

  • their meanings: Blue, red and yellow
  • Shoes and slippers
  • Fans and intricate bags
  • Patterns, hand paintings etc.

Western. Brought by American, this is the latest influence that dominates the fashion.

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