Monday, November 12, 2012

Panamania! - Embracing Ethnic Roots into Fashion

The NY Times ranked Panama as the #1 travel destination in 2012. National Geographic and Forbes also mentioned Panama as a top travel destination, and the U.S Ambassador of Panama launched a campaign called "Panama esta de moda". So is it any wonder that Panamanians have a sense of national pride that we are now seeing cascade into all aspects of fashion, art and design?

For years tourists have traveled to Panama and fallen in love with the ethnic prints, jewelry and handicrafts from Panama's indigenous communities including Kuna, Embera-Wounaan, Nôbe-Buglé, Guaymi, Talamanca, and the Bokata.
Panamanians are very patriotic about their homeland and in the last few years we have seen a shift in their perceptions towards their ethnic roots. As the world is visiting and embracing their style, Panamanians are now also beginning to incorporate elements of their culture into their fashion and lifestyle.

Designers that have embraced this growing trend include Annie Chajin, Helene Breebart, Annabell Quintero, Alessandra Grau and Fernanda Quiros. This year, in Fashion Week Panama FWP2012 we watched national designers incorporate more local ethnic inspirations into their designs with growing sense of national pride.

Photos by Miss Moss, Antoinette Jolie and Eventos Top - Durgan and Sabbi Durgan.

Another traditional Panamanian piece of clothing are guayaberas. They are easy to recognize because of their patch pockets, vertical rows of alforzas and their usual white color. Annabell Quintero proposed a chic female version of it during Fashion Week Panama 2012.
Annabell Quintero
Panamanian ethnic fashion is on trend and the media knows it, that's why local magazines are including it more and more in fashion editorials and cover shots. It will be interesting to watch if this is a growing trend amongst Panamanians and if this is exportable to international fashion destinations.

We have already seen the world embrace the Panama Hat, now lets see if Panama's ethnic roots inspire fashion trends around the world. 
Hermes store in Panama portraying the traditional Panamanian public bus “Diablo Rojo” holding their scarves, ties, umbrellas and hats. Carolina Herrera’s Andy bag – Panama flag version -  in the opening of her store in Panama.
Molas, on Vogue’s daily .

Written by Laura Díaz and Leanne Moss.

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