A perspective on fashion and Samoa

By Julia Jamila Werner* 19 November 2016, 12:00AM

“Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening” Coco Chanel.

As one of the fashion icons of all time, Coco Chanel, has already noticed, fashion is a lot more than just clothes. 

It became a way to illustrate culture, indicate membership of a group or demonstrate values and beliefs. The way you dress became a popular way to express yourself physically.

Fashion influences all individual lifestyles. 

From the way, we dress to the way we eat our meals.

Fashion is constantly changing trends; it is a wider concept that is narrowed down to Fabric, Apparel, and Accessories in recent years that make most people relate to how they dress and what they put on. 

In accordance with a particular culture of a country, designers and manufacturers tend to produce clothing and accessories. 

This becomes the fashion of the supposed region and most people are known to adapt to trends in clothing and styles if only it is in accordance with the specific culture.

Has the influence of fashion changed the culture?

In big parts of Western society, culture has definitely changed as a result of fashion. 

Recent history, for example, can show us how fashion changes culture. 

Women wanted to be able to use bicycles in the late 1800s. Thus, the first pants were invented for women, and it became acceptable for them to wear bloomers.

Another time fashion changed culture was when women wanted to help the war effort, through not wearing silk stockings (used for parachutes). 

It became okay for women to have bare legs, and suddenly they also wanted, or needed, to shave them! 

Fashion also influences culture in the modern era, with people emulating pop stars. Culture is always changing, but fashion is, in some ways, responsible for part of it. As I walked through the streets of the capital city, Apia, I saw two main pillars.

To me, Samoan clothing bears the essence and importance of traditionalism and modernity.

Especially on the countryside fashion reflects the pride they have in their Samoan heritage. 

In bigger villages such as Apia the traditional and formal part gets mixed up with modern and more casual elements. 

Nevertheless the tradition is still represented in Samoan fashion. 

Furthermore Samoan fashion enriches the environment as well as the lifestyle of Samoan people.

Worldwide fashion helps to shape culture and makes it recognizable!

Each country has its own look. When we look back on history we learn about different countries political issues, war, art, food, and fashion. 

When you see certain clothing or fabrics it can remind you of a country. Fashion can inspire artwork for a specific culture and peoples views on a culture.


*Julia is from Germany. She is in Samoa with Projects Abroad and she is an intern at the Samoa Observer.

By Julia Jamila Werner* 19 November 2016, 12:00AM

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