It's a neat coincidence that you just posted about your amazing "ethnic" inspired dress as I was planning to post about a photo shoot I did of the hats the women of Uhaj have been making with a number of the kids here in local costume. Marjet, one of my knitters, is also in a native dance troupe, so I asked her to pose with some of her friends:
There are a lot of traditional weaves here, which are definitely potential inspirations for new designs. They have various loincloth and skirt patterns that vary according to village and class, so there's definitely a huge amount of inspiration to draw from. I have reference pictures of the motifs, but they're kind of boring so I'm just going to post another picture of one of the kids close up, whose name I can't remember right now but he's also the youngest local priest and commands a lot of respect in the village. I see this combination of kindness and solemnity in his eyes whenever I take a picture of him:
I like how their motifs read as both ethnic and minimal, using a relatively limited palette of colors and really simple decorations of chevrons, x's, and diamonds. Wouldn't you love it if I made you an Ifugao-inspired scarf that can also be used as a loincloth for Adam? Please say yes. :)
Your comments about "authenticity" brought up a lot of issues for me in terms of the way that we in the West have a tendency to feel free to appropriate whatever we want, while we bristle at the idea of buying things from people outside the West that are not "authentic," as though such a term is still valid given our crazy, super-globalized world. I've been asked as I'm teaching these women why I'm not focusing on having them make something that looks more like their "native" textiles, and my response has always been that doing this maintains the idea that we should have the freedom to innovate while they can only do things that are derivative of a "native" culture that has gone through an amazing array of transformations, but that we want to maintain for our own romantic purposes.
The hats themselves appropriate Chinese symbols transported to Japan as knitted by people in the Philippines as taught to them by someone based in the United States, using a technique that originated in Scotland, and yarn made in the U.S. and Peru. How's that for complex routes of appropriation?
All that said, this picture definitely makes me want to design garments that would "accesorize" their native costumes. I'm thinking gauntlets and ankle warmers. It will make them look even more fabulous, don't you think?
Love as always,