The traditional attire worn by the members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations at the ASEAN Summit 2017 in Manila ended the long-running trend of world leaders wearing “silly Asean shirts”.
The general public often poked fun at the “awkward” attire that world leaders don every time they attend the semiannual event.
However, tradition dictates that every world leader should wear the traditional garments of the host country that they visit, according to South China Morning Post.
The recent ASEAN Summit 2017 event had every country representative wear the Philippines’ official national costume known as the Barong Tagalog, a lightweight, embroidered shirt, usually worn untucked over an undershirt with trousers at weddings and special occasions in the country.
Previous gatherings forced world leaders to rock raiment that mostly looked awkward, especially for foreign visitors of the host country. Unlike the past events, the Philippine’s traditional garbs give off a more subtle look to suit almost everybody regardless of their race and preference.
The Barong Tagalog made the world leaders appear more charming and less silly as Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and even U.S. President Donald Trump all wore the formal attire with a smile. Traditional attire in previous ASEAN Summit events often incorporate flashy and colorful designs, while the Barong Tagalog takes pride in its austerity.
This simplistic design is what gives the Barong its wholesome appeal, which is generally accepted instead of being labeled as “silly”. Fashion historian Gino Gonzales described the Barong as “an indigenized version of the western shirt,” which represents the complex history of the Philippines, according to Quartz.
“The great thing about the barong, it evolved in such a way that it’s still wearable as casualwear, security guards wear it; office workers wear it,” Gonzalez explained. “Security guards wear it; office workers wear it.”
It’s no wonder world leaders feel comfortable in a Barong, given that almost everyone can don the Philippines’ traditional attire as well. Let’s just hope that the ASEAN Summit 2017 would mark the end of “silly Asean shirt” critics in the future.
Featured Image Screenshot via YouTube / AFP news agency