BLOG EDITOR: RONA LIN
PHOTOS BY RENE PASCUA
22 SEPTEMBER 2017
The Tale of Sudan
RUBA, DOCTOR OF DENTAL MEDICINE
This week we go a little cultural, a bit ethnic. We’re following the trail to Sudan, a culturally diverse country in Northern Africa.
Ruba, who is from Sudan, will help us understand more about her country in – definitely – sartorial lens.
Binge-watches: Friends, Grey’s Anatomy
Binge-reads: “The Perks of Being a Wallflower”
Listens to a lot of: Alternative rock
Comfort track: “Alibi” by 30 Seconds To Mars
Style principle: As long as I’m happy and comfortable in what I’m wearing then it’s all good.
Style history: When I was younger, to me, clothes were just clothes. Nothing more, nothing less, and I just wore whatever my mom picked out for me. I remember even throughout my teenage years I’d always ask if she approved of my outfits. But eventually I have come to learn that clothes are not just a bunch of fabrics sewn together. Fashion and style are a form of self-expression; the clothes I wear make a statement. It’s me breaking out of all the stereotypes and pre-conceived ideas that people believe and expect. I then stopped caring much about “approval” and chose to wear the things I liked wearing, no matter how odd they looked to everyone else. I guess that brings us to now.
Favorite style item: My nose ring.
It is a style item at the same time a little piece of my culture that I carry around with me everywhere I go. I never leave the house without my nose ring.
Favorite go to look/3-piece style: Flowy dress, long cardigan, and high-heeled boots
Style icon: I don’t actually have one, but if I had to choose, I’d say Mia Swier. She has a killer sense of style.
Sudan is home to over 500 different tribes, and each tribe has its own distinctive ethnicity. Such diversity has led to an eclectic culture, and when the foreign influences of Egyptian and British colonial rule are added to the mix, it is safe to say that there is no single Sudanese culture. Many of the diverse influences can be noticed in such cultural markers as music, clothing, and cuisine.
One can immediately notice that, generally, the Sudanese sense of style is heavy with jewelry and facial embellishments and body ornaments, piercings included.
Sudanese clothing differs from one cultural group to another, and also from region to region. There are some similarities in attire, however, as most cultures wear jalabiya or jelabiya (also jellabiya), a loose ankle-length garment, as their traditional attire. Another item of clothing which is common among all cultures in the thawb or thobe, which is similar to a robe, with a sarwal or pyjama typically donned underneath.
Ruba’s inclination towards ankle-length dresses may have been influenced by such.
Sartorialist blog founder Scott Schuman, who visited Africa in 2013 and roughly chronicled the region’s fashion narrative, remarked, “In our western world of fashionable dark colors and standardized Mango, Zara and H&M, we forget how many possibilities for clothing combinations [and style] lie open before us.” This is another part of style that’s remarkable – the diversity of it across the world.
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