by admin on April 18, 2011

wedding vest and jacket from fiji

fijian groom


another fellow fashion history student hails from fiji.  esme doesn’t even really know where fiji is (she has  always been horrible at geography)–it’s that exotic!!  karun comes to monterey peninsula college from a fashion school in l.a.  he needed only this class to finish up his degree, so he is rather more advanced than some of us.  he is able to draw free-hand, and has come up with some striking dress designs.  in fact, he has his own line of men’s clothing, which will debut sometime this summer!  the name will be shashi clothing—keep your eyes peeled!

karun brought these wonderful men’s ensembles to class.  he and his relatives wear them for weddings.  there were brocade vests with elaborate embroidery, matching jackets with similar embroidery at cuffs, neck and down the front, and nicely tailored black or white pants in heavy wool fabric.  esme was especially attracted to the vests, which she could imagine wearing herself.  these are not made in fiji, but are ordered from abroad.

when a man gets married he wears a long embroidered gown in cotton and silk, loose leggings, turban, and many gold beads.  the bride wears a colorful hand-beaded sari with elaborate embroidered details, matching head-covering, and lots and lots of gold.  the groom gives the bride a beautiful gold and jeweled necklace called a mangalsutra.  she is to wear this for the rest of her life, as it symbolizes not just the union of herself and her groom, but also the combination of 2 separate families into one.

a fijian wedding goes on for three days.  the brides gets tatooed with henna on the first day.  the second is focused on cooking and the meeting of the two families.  it is not until the third day that the actual wedding takes place!  esme’s absolutely favorite detail from karun’s description is that the groom has his choice of arriving for the ceremonies on either a horse or an elephant!  i would so want my intended to come via elephant (although mr. noir would probably have chosen ferrari)!

karun and samreen noted many similarities in their customs and costumes, even though the one is hindu from fiji, while the other is muslim from pakistan.  esme continues to be gobsmacked by the cultural variety growing right here in her own back yard.  she hardly needs to travel to learn about foreign lands.  all she needs to do is step out into the world with an open heart, an open mind, and eyes wide open.



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