Tradition! It’s in the Textile


I LOVE CLOTHING! I’m not talkin’ “Ooooh look at ME! I got myself the latest in Vuitton’s collection.” But I mean, think about what that brand DOES –most fashion designers in general. They create. They’re artists! They make something out of nothing. Like me! They also reflect the times and cultural influences. This is the reason why I love traditional clothing. They can be interesting, vibrant and creative, convey history and sometimes can say much about the person wearing it.

All That Folds

So why not do a garment study! I plan to do more detailed illustrations of these clothing styles at SOME point. But for now: Prismacolor again!



Hanbok and Gat hat

I didn’t realize all the different TYPES of hanbok there are! And both men and women in Korea wear them; usually for special occasions like weddings and such, which is cool. I decided to go with the traditional women’s hanbok with the high-waisted jacket. The mens hanbok seems pretty traditional and maybe middle-class/noble? The modern ones look more simple: like a vest worn over a dress-shirt with loose pants to match.

The Parts:

Chima – hanbok skirt

Jeogori – jacket/sleeves

Goreum – tie

Baerae – Jacket Torso

Mens Hanbok – Baji/pants; jeogori & sokgui/shirt

I’ve also noticed during my research that hanbok worn for weddings often look like what Korean kings and queens used to wear. I find it awesome how that legacy has continued in modern Korean fashion.




Boubou, Bufi hat & Gele Wrap

A black-American myself, I get styling tips and suggestions from female family members all the time. So I got curious: What’s the fashion industry like in Africa? I wanna draw it! XD

Floral peplum belts, blazers and maxi dresses. Those are all the rage, but I’m interested in the flowy stuff.

Boubou/Agbada – West/Central African (e.g. Ghana, Tukulor, Takrur) Yoruba.

Both men and women wear these long one-piece fabrics, draped over the body. Super majestic and cool-looking. While men wear boubous with a sort of head cap, women tend to wear Ankara head wraps. They go by many names:

Ankara Couture; Ankara Ge; Gele – I’ve read once that some countries in Africa consider the headdress of any sort much like a crown, historically. There’s a connotation of royalty. So, in modern times, people who wear ankara take great pride in wearing boubou and ankara wraps –As they should!




Yukata & Men’s Kimono

Fun fact! Kimono (i.e. if my knowledge serves me, literally means wearing-thing…..??

-_-) used to be the general term for Japanese to refer to any type of clothing waaay back in the day: Tunic, robe, farming garbs, you name it. Anymore it specifically refers to the full-body wrap of a garment. Kimono is worn by both Japanese men and women, often during special occasions. I decided to draw the yukata for the girl; that’s light, summery and seems far easier to wear then the many wraps, bells and whistles of a traditional kimono. Some have TWELVE LAYERS (i.e. Junihitoe Kimono)! Yeesh.

*Not to be confused with Hanfu! Traditional Chinese/Mandarin attire [unisex] (If interested, copy & paste THIS into any search engine: 汉服) ~Reference from a friend (^_~) BACK to kimono!

Another fun fact of my research is the concept of kitsuke [key-szoo-keh]. I gathered that it describes the matter of HOW you wear kimono. (e.g. It shows bad KITSUKE to tie your kimono like a bath robe.) Having good kitsuke seems to take TONS of practice.

Women’s Kimono – comes in many styles. Traditionally made of silk, and varying styles of obi/belts.

Yukata  – Worn by men and women. Often made of cotton and worn during the warmer seasons. Women tend to wear their obi high-waisted. Men tend to wear their obi low-waisted.

Montsuki  – worn by men during very formal occasions. Most visible pieces: Kuro-monstuki (black kimono) [longest, outer kimono show the wearer’s family crests], Haori [tied by non-visible obi belt -located under the hakama], traditionally pinstriped Hakama (pants)


Tradition: Revival? Survival?

Ankara Wrap – Since the natural hair movement started flaring in the United States –WORLDWIDE–I realized just how long African-based clothing and styles have been influencing the hair and makeup industry WAY before it got trendy.

Hanbok – Interestingly enough, I read in the Korean times recently about how newer generations aren’t finding wearing hanbok all that relevant or necessary. Not to mention hanbok are EXPENSIVE. As most fancy clothing are.

Kimono – Kimono used to commonly be made out of not just silk, but like THE GOOD STUFF. Like…Red-stamp-paste-used-to-be-made-out-of-crushed-sapphire-flowers-and-ruby GOOD STUFF. The “good stuff” is called Habutae. Nowadays expensive kimono are made of the usual substitutes: polyester, cotton, silk blends, etc. While kimono is traditionally handmade after a family member buys just a BUNCH of fabric and make magic happen on their own, the expense is more impractical anymore? …you could say? People most often rent those pre-made ones, and/or get hand-me-downs or kimono as family heirlooms. Kimono don’t seem to be as in jeopardy, culture-wise, as Korea’s hanbok. But I AM several countries away and out of the loop ^^

Final Thoughts

I, after all this fashion study, never realized how hard it is to find male clothing, traditional ones anyways. In other words, women’s fashion seems SO much more accessible and I have NO idea why. I had to seriously dig to find the mens equivalent of these clothing types. BUT MOVING ON!

I often take fancy clothes for granted, despite them being for occasional purposes ANYWAYS; a fact I find kind of funny. I say this because, despite fancy attire being for special occasions I always assumed the staples I know to kind of always BE AROUND. Take the cravat, waistcoat and tailcoat for instance. Some of you might wonder just what the heck I’m talking about. But in other words, I’m only talking about a plain old suit (e.g. Tuxedo if you’re fancy). I find it interesting how much of the globe has adopted this attire across cultures (and women more recently in times), since at LEAST the Edwardian period ( i.e. Think TITANIC ^^)??! This is very Western and traditional wear that is not only, what I think, arguably one of the oldest modern fashion attire [i.e. Clothing that’s still trendy], but some new generations of cultures take in clothes like this at the expense of their own traditional ones. That is, if their culture has traditional attire in the first place. People have often mentioned this factor boiling down to accessibility. Who can afford these?! Custom, tailored, handmade gowns and flowing attire that have survived MILLENIA (to be fair, suits aren’t cheap AT ALL either, but…). This gets me thinking though. I don’t take stock of my own time period much. I think of Westernization as something that happened some x amount of decades ago, leaving me to live in the aftermath in the wake of the industrial revolution. But I wonder if Westernization still isn’t happening. Ongoing. Right now.

I have an old soul. I like things that have a story, look used, and are tactile. I am also culturally sensitive. I’m American, so a part of me wonders if it’s some sort of vicarious survivor’s guilt. I am also Black (The jury’s out on which type; I could be of welsh or Ethiopian descent for all I know ^^;), so another part of me has a sweet spot for heritage and knowledge of where things come from. Specifically I come from a family whom have always told me the importance of knowing and respecting origins, especially my own. In this sense, I think I’m a crossroads of an individual: my ethnicity is traditional but my nationality is not. I never made that distinction until this post. Maybe that’s why I’m so artsy. At the end of the day I’m STILL trying to figure stuff out ^^



Africa – Traditional/Modern Fashion

Japan – Traditional Clothing

Korea – Traditional/Historical Clothing

**COA's, Disclaimers and ETC's**

All mentioned content is purely for entertainment/informative purposes. All links provided for each respective topic are of sites I find trustworthy (a.k.a. safe to browse) with any following content the property of those admins. Any unexpected roads to elsewhere are at the discretion of your own browser/internet provider’s security settings …annnd hopefully a good firewall.

Please pardon me if I am not too accurate with the subjects I post about. I do try my best to stay current and not generalize. Constructive criticism and “Grammar Nazis” are welcome (especially about my artwork ^_^), but no flames …[pretty] PLEASE? If you have anything to add, correct or would like to share any cool topics you’d like me to draw for, feel free to click on the links towards the bottom of each page, or drop me a message here!

Thank you!

~ PennyDoth


5 thoughts on “Tradition! It’s in the Textile

      1. I lived in Guinea as a kid, so I only wore the ones for children hehe
        I didn’t try a kimono either, although I think we have a simplified version at home… the problem is that I don’t know how to tie it 😛
        And currently I’m saving money to buy a Hanbok for when I get married lol


      2. You lived in GUINEA!? WOW that’s awesome. Reminds me of times growing up when I wished I were raised bilingual or in multiple countries. Experiencing different cultures as a kid is an experience all its own ^^.
        And yeah, even tying kimono without help is a skill in and of itself lol Whenever I watch someone do it, they make it look so easy XD
        It’s so wonderful that you’re saving for a wedding hanbok! The traditional queen’s hanbok looks so majestic and intricate. It’d be cool if you get an elaborate one like that. Then again, the event itself always outshines the clothes of course, no matter the type of dress 😉

        Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s