When it comes to fashion everyone is looking for the newest trends. Either by looking to the past or to the futuristic Lady Gaga. In America this season is all about lace, leather and military green. More adventurous fashionistas are rocking turbans, harem pants and high socks with wedges. Where does this inspiration come from?
Fashion is all around the world, not just in Los Angeles and New York. There are many countries that are big, bold and bona fide when it comes to fashion. Here at California Baptist University, we have our own little fashionistas from around the world.
Taking you to the beautiful Asian island of Taiwan, junior transfer student from Diablo Valley College, Esther Tsai, explained how Taiwan fashion is this season’s next big thing.
“A lot of people in Taiwan are crazy for fashion,” Tsai said. Taiwan is a fashionable country and its people are not afraid to be daring and make a statement with their wardrobes.
“Americans are more comfortable and in Taiwan we like to look good no matter if it’s comfortable or not,” Tsai said. Her fashion choices are a mixture of both cultures. She loves to be comfortable but she likes to look good at the same time.
“Every season we have different fashion. Now it is leggings, long dresses, heels and boots. It is very important to match your clothing or you will just look plain weird,” Tsai said.
Taiwan is very fashion forward and the fashion is constantly evolving from one season to the next. But what will be “in” next season? One minute you are in style, and the next minute you are out.
Tsai describes Taiwan’s fashion as very similar to other Asian countries. These countries are fashion capitals; they are home to the people who dress to impress. American trend setters need to look no further for fashion inspiration.
Lynn Chen is possibly one of the most fashionable girls on campus. Her personal style rocks the heels and the short curly do. Chen is a freshman from China, who came to the U.S. in 2008. She pointed out how most people in America dress for comfort and in China they dress for visual impact.
“Our generation [in China] loves fashion, loves shopping and has better shopping than here in the United States,” she said. In China, girls wear skinny jeans, high heels and dresses. It is all about the new fads and looking your best, even if it does kill you to walk in 4-inch heels. Chen also said she would like to be more punk with “colored hair, piercings, leather boats and jackets.”
Spain shares a similar dress-to-impress mentality, but on a more intense level. “In Spain, if you don’t look a certain way it’s not cool,” senior Mercedes Vasquez said. The Spanish are very into their brands and having that certain “look” from head to toe.
Vasquez was born in Barcelona, Spain and has lived in the United States for nine years. She believes that people here in the U.S. have their own look; “Every look defines a person’s style and personality; gives them individuality. It’s a free way of living.” This is different from the fashion philosophy of the Spanish, notes Vasquez. The clothes are very expensive and the people are cutthroat about designer labels and matching. This mentality stretches beyond Spain to most European countries.
French fashion is about elegance and being classy and sophisticated. Justine Javelle, a junior at CBU, has lived in America for three years. Javelle combines the sophistication of French styling with the customs she has picked up in the US.
“I enjoy wearing American fashion and also the French fashion. I wear my hats or scarfs or jewelry which differentiate me from everyone else,” Javelle said.
Europeans love high-class fashion. Sophisticated, pricey styles are what they feel most comfortable in and whats sets them apart from the rest of the world.
Faith Mwiza, junior, from Rwanda said the style in her country is very modest and follows the CBU dress code. In Kigali, the nation’s capital, it is common to see women wearing jeans and more westernized styles, but in the rural parts of Rwanda, women wear modest skirts and dresses.
“If you wear a skirt too short, people will have a perception of you. They will think you are loose,” Mwiza says.
Every Sunday, women wear dresses to honor the holy day. In many cases, women wear a traditonal Rwandan Umukenyero, which is made of cloth pieces of wrapped around the person with a sash. “Dressing is a part of the culture; one main difference is in Rwanda we have traditional wear,” she said. But now that Mwiza is in America, she wears a mixture of both styles. She loves shopping at Ross, being comfortable and her favorite tank-tops.
“People tend to think that in Africa we only wear colors, but it is not always true,” Mwiza said. Rwanda has modernized styles but also keeps traditions.
Bright colors and beautiful embroidery are the hot trends in the land of Bollywood. Shrey Shan and Krupa Mehda are both graduate students from Gujarad, India. They have been in the U.S. for a year and a half and see similarities of the fashion in India and America. Shan said, “American tradition is different than ours, but casual clothes have more similarities.” When it comes to the traditional wear, India has a more elaborate way of presenting itself.
“Our traditional wear is made using bright and vibrant fabric with a lot of embroidery. We wear the sahris and chanyia choli, which are dresses with layers in any color you can imagine with the most beautiful stitching and embroidery,” Mehda said. “When there are festivals, occasions or Indian weddings, then that is when we wear our traditional clothes.”
“India has 29 states and each state has its own traditional dress. We all wear sahris but with different colors. You can design your own sahri and get it in any color you want,” Shan said.
Besides the sahris and the chanyia choli, accessories are a must for the women of India. “Accessories are equally important from head to toe,” Shan said.
Style varies from the younger generation to the older. The older women stay more in their tradiontal wear of the Sahirs, but the younger generation likes to dress more casual and modern, in jeans and T-shirts.
Like the Rwandan tradition, the Indian culture values modesty.
India and America are similar in their casual dress but India is more traditional. It is a beautiful culture with vibrant rituals.
Fashion is a worldwide interest, which inspires all who have a love of clothing. The most beautiful fashion takes place when girls embrace their country and are proud of where they are from. These girls can be found representing their own culture on the CBU campus. Whether it is by wearing name brands, heels or even sahris, they make themselves known and have beautiful self-confidence.