When we think of what makes a culture unique, we often think of language, food, or customs. Yet, one of the most vivid and compelling expressions of cultural identity is often overlooked—fashion! Across the globe, fashion has the power to communicate a culture’s values and history. This includes everything from the symbolism of colors to adherence to specific dress codes for various occasions. Fashion around the world is yet another example of how #culturematters.
Weddings are one of the most universal examples. Every culture has distinct customs and expectations when it comes to dressing for the momentous day. For example, Algerian weddings bear a striking resemblance to fashion shows. The bride and her close relatives undergo several outfit changes (traditionally up to seven!) to showcase the bride’s heritage and pay homage to her city.
Many holidays and celebrations also call for culture-specific outfits. And you may already know more about cultural fashion than you think! For example, the word dirndl may not necessarily ring a bell. But if we mention Oktoberfest, you’ll likely be able to picture this folk dress traditional to Austria, Bavaria, Switzerland, and of course, Germany. Or, at American graduation ceremonies you may notice students of the African diaspora wearing graduation stoles made of kente cloth as a tribute to their heritage.
How much do you know about culture-specific clothing and the meaning behind it? Check out our below quiz to test your knowledge and discover more about cultural fashion around the world: