Sunday, May 10, 2009

Cultural Identity through Vintage Fashion

The past week has been really exhausting for me. Not simply because of the rigorous demand of school, or the repetitive motions of work, but of preparation and presentation of Mga Kapatid's Pilipino Culture Night (PCN). PCN is an annual showcase that displays Filipino culture, heritage, and dance through the interpretation of its participants. My role in this year's PCN took a lot more responsibility as I accepted the challenge of co-choreographing the foxtrot and jitterbug dance scenes in the movie. I'll have to admit, making up the dance steps for this very elaborate and posture-specific dance was quite difficult, however, directing those on finding costumes that represented the dance and the era (1940s) was more difficult of the two. Reason being are that one, my dancers (including myself) are cheap college students who would think of anything to save a quarter, and two, my compact challenge calls for me to be consumer conscious.

In the reading, "Women, Citizenship and the Politics of Dress in Twentieth-Century Philippines," Roces states that, "Western dress reflected the powerful colonizers, and Filipino men by donning Western attire were associating themselves with the powerful colonizers; while the native dress was worn by women, who as disenfranchised citizens, the colonized subject- the bearer and wearer of tradition." This was very evident in my direction to my dancers on structuring their costumes. For the men, I pointed out slim three-piece suits or slacks, vests and ties that were very similar to the attire that Harry Fox wore himself.

As I suggested to the women cultural dancers, their attire were to resemble that of the barrio women in the provinces of the Philippines, which depicted simple white shirts and colorful skirts that had matching bandannas to go around their hair.

To adhere to the compact challenge, my costume was made by a few articles of clothing that I have already owned, suspenders and tie that I borrowed from a relative and friend and dress shoes that I purchased from the R&R Thrift Store here in Davis (Davis Manor, on 8th street between L St and Pole Line). I must admit that I was very fortunate to make a vintage outfit spending little money as possible and the look for both my dancers and myself turned out beautiful. Another prime example that fighting consumerism can be a symbiotic relationship.

Christian Borgonia Blog #2
picture 1: (courtesy of Anthony Tadina)
picture 2: (courtesy of Anthony Tadina)

Roces, Mira. "Women, Citizenship and the Politics of Dress in Twentieth-Century Philippines" NIAsnytt no.1, 2004.

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