Culture Inspired Menswear Themes Around The World
Posted on May 04 2018
It is often said that if you travel around the world, you will experience different lives but in one lifetime. The same can be said about culture except that through culture you get to see the beauty of life through other people’s perspective. In fact, what you’re wearing today is likely a result of borrowed culture going back to a few centuries ago if not millennia. Even the modern-suit that you wear today has evolved for at least 200 years penetrating through different cultures to be universally accepted as a formal wear. There is nothing new under the sun and if you want to experience a vibrant dressing style, you ought to borrow from different cultures around the world. Of course, whichever that suits you. Pun intended!
Maasai Inspired Menswear
The Maasai is a tribe in East Africa popularly known for their rich cultural lifestyle. Back in the days when there were many lions roaming the African Savannah, the rite of passage from a boy to man in the Maasai community meant killing a full grown adult lion. Not with a gun of course since the Maasai don’t use firearms. Nowadays, the killing of lions is illegal but still the Maasai are well-respected warriors. The Maasai prefer clothes with bright colors and decorative patterns just like the Zulu in South Africa and Igbo in West Africa. Typical traditional Maasai attire is usually very simple and does not involve a lot of cloth-pieces. The Maasai warriors just wrap a cotton made-material known as ‘shuka’ around their body and they are good to go. A Maasai inspired menswear design will probably involve making a shirt or a coat from the traditional African attire material. Hence, if you are borrowing from the Maasai, your shirt or suit coat should be a design from the cotton made red ‘shuka’ worn by the Maasai to complete the picture. But you don’t have to change your normal khaki/cotton trouser, just make sure the pieces complement each other. Don’t forget to wear the colorful beaded Maasai ornaments on the neck or around your arm, they are usually a vital part of the Maasai traditional wear.
Japanese Inspired Menswear
You have probably seen movies with Japanese Samurai and got curious about their fashion style. From the cool umbrella looking hat that covers the face of the Samurai so you cannot easily identify him to the one piece of cloth that is split midway with a belt, everything about the Japanese sense of fashion is unique. The umbrella shaped hat is known as ‘kasa’ and is usually worn with the hakama or kimono, the traditional dress of Japan. In fact, the judo and karate formal dressing is borrowed from hakama, the traditional Samurai attire. Even the wearing of baggy unfitted suits in the 80’s with a flat-cut was influenced by Kimonos. Fast forward to today and baggy clothes are out fashion in the contemporary world but who said you can’t make a fitting suit coat with elements of hakama or kimono? In Japan, you will probably not get any unusual stares like in your hometown if you decide to rock a kimono or hakama. The material is usually silk and you can choose between navy blue and black or black and white.
Todos Santos Cuchumatán (Guatemala)
The Guatemala highlands are known for their rich textiles in clothing but more so, the Todos Santos Cuchamatan town is where tradition dressing resides. In fact, if you want to get the best weaving in Central America then you have to visit Todos Santos. The famous traditional dressing style is particularly distinctive - the trouser is usually striped red and white while the jackets vary in color from purple, white, pink to red and matched with beautiful embroidered shirts. The style would not be complete without the blue straw hat with a blue band wrap and a vibrant crocheted bag.
Southern Germany and Austria
Probably one of the most popular men’s folk costume in Europe is the lederhosen which traces its roots to Bavaria (Germany) and Tyrol (Austria). The lederhosen are short knee-length breeches made out of leather. If the breech surpasses the knee, they are known as Kniebundhosen or Bundhosen. Since the lederhosen are made out of leather, you can be bet they are more durable than other clothes made of cotton or silk. The lederhosen is usually worn for leisure and very common at Oktoberfest beer festivals around the world.If you are bold to try out a folk costume from another culture, avoid dressing in ethnic stereotype. Getting inspired by a different culture does not translate to stereotyping. It is more acceptable to blend folk costumes with your own touch of modern wear. For instance, you don’t have to dress exactly like the Maasai but you can wear a tailored Maasai inspired suit coat made out ‘shuka’ material.