"To me, clothing is a form of self-expression. There are hints about who you are in what you wear."
Clothing also reflects where you come from, who you surround yourself with, and what cultures you celebrate. Students can learn a lot about other countries and communities by exploring international clothing and fashion trends.
We’re excited to celebrate 18 PenPals of the Week who recently completed Clothing and Culture of the World: Mia and Anja from the United States Acozthavylla, Stephanie, and Siti from Malaysia, and Adis, Eimantas, Lukas, Aurimas, Rapolas, Ayda, Armina, Akvile, Marius, Dainora, Greta, Kazimieras, and Vilte from Lithuania.
In this project, PenPals learn about traditional and modern clothing from various regions. They discuss how purpose and function influence clothing and how outfits adapt to different activities and environments. Then, PenPals share original fashion designs that reflect their unique styles.
Anja and Mia described what their favorite pieces say about where they come from, such as the weather and community values.
“My favorite item of clothing are fuzzy cabin socks because the are super comfortable and if I am wearing them it usually means that I get to relax. This item can teach others about my identity and my community because I am from Minnesota. Minnesota is very cold and a lot of people in my community wear fuzzy socks to keep their feet warm.”
Acozthavylla and Stephanie introduced beautiful clothing worn by the Iban and Orang Ulu communities of Malaysia. They are worn to celebrate Malaysian history and traditions.
“My favorite traditional clothes in my country is Ngepan. It's Iban women's clothes for Gawai Day in June and wedding ceremonies. The name comes from an Iban girl named Kumang. She is the most beautiful girl and kind with other people. All these items are now very hard to find and expensive.”
“In Sarawak, we have 38 living ethnicities with many amazing looking clothes. I'm very interesting with 'Orang Ulu' community which have many type of tribe like Kayan, Kenyah, Lun Bawang, Kelabit, Bisaya, Penan and others. For the male costume, they just used a short pant and have decoration on their shoulder. They also hold a shield with Orang Ulu's pattern on it. The shield is a reminder to Orang Ulu's warrior past. We used this costume during the festivals, wedding ceremony, dance performance and others.”
Sity talked about how some items of clothing, like headscarves, serve both functional and religious purposes.
“My favorite item of clothing is necessary for me to wear every time I go somewhere open where a male that is not my family can see me. As a muslimah (a female who embrace Islam), I must cover my aurah, which is why I must wear headscarf. My aurah consist every part of me except my face and my hand (from wrist to my fingertips). So that mean I must wear loose long sleeved shirt, long knickers, socks, and headscarf. In my religion, we believe our god create rules like this to protect us from human's wrongdoings. While protected, I am also not exposed to the UV rays from the sun.”
After learning about clothing from around the world, PenPals design original pieces inspired by their own personalities and lifestyles. Check out these designs by PenPals from Lithuania.
Warm Weather Clothing
Hoodies and Sweaters
Conversations around favorite clothing items offer great insight to where PenPals come from, and these designs give us a peek into their creative minds. Sharing information about clothing with other students is a visual, engaging way to learn more about other countries, cultures, and people!
Does your class want tickets to the fashion show? Enroll your class in Clothing and Culture of the World, starting April 30th.