by Miki Nakayama, Japan
By Lena, Germany
Louwane Billebault, France
Any fashion that is lucky enough to fall under the influence of three civilizations is certain to be an extraordinary blend of style and chic. Algeria sits at the crossroads of three worlds, Arab, Mediterranean and African, and Algerian fashion has long been influenced by the fact that its unique location has been a place of historic meetings and exchanges.
Not surprisingly, Algerian designers have succeeded in combining the cultural traditions with the influence of the atmosphere of the country. These influences have found their way into the fashion industry and have foreshadowed several changes in the choice of colour, design and pattern.
Women‘s costume in particular, successfully combines flamboyance, utility and elegance. There is a strong emphasis on intricate decoration and colours. The use of colourful fabrics for clothing stands out against the predominant surrounding earth tones and the Algerian woman has kept her love for colour and brightly coloured patterns. Reds, yellows, greens and blues as well as many other colour combinations are combined and finely embroidered with gold and silver threads.
The Karakou is a typical traditional dress and incorporates a velvet jacket embroidered in gold and silver worn with the traditional saroual (Arab pants) and comes from Algiers, the capital of Algeria.
The Blousa from Oran, West Algeria is a fulllength, straight-cut dress made entirely from lace and sequined chest.
Blousa from Oran
Chedda of Tlemcen is a traditional caftan velvet and golden son, decorated with pearls, necklaces. It is considered in this region, as the most beautiful and the most expensive dress worn by the bride on her wedding day but also the other women at weddings. It is my favorite one, because it’s from my city, where my mom come from. There is a picture of me wearing it when I was younger.
Chedda of Tlemcen
The Djeba of Constantine is the traditional dress from Constantine in the eastern side of the country. This dress is always made with velvet and embroidered by gold and silver thread. The sleeves can be made of lace. In the central region of Tizi-ouzou, the dress is mainly made from cotton and is completely embroidered at the neck and bodice as well as at the wrists. However, it is at wedding and other special occasions that these traditional dresses do justice to the affair. Distinctive jewelry is also worn.
Chaoui Dress known in eastern Algeria as ‘L‘Haf Chaoui’, is a traditional dress made of black cloth embroidered with multicolored wool threads. This dress can be a one-piece or two-piece dress. Nowadays, Chaoui Dress is often worn with wide comfortable pants or with traditional pants known as ‘Serwal’.
El Hayek, the Algerian Veil, is emblematic of Algeria‘s traditional dress heritage. Typically, Algerian and closely connected to daily life in urban areas, the veil is a traditionally dress worn by women and a symbol of modesty. Algerian traditional Hayek comes mostly in white but some regions of the country offer variants in other colors as well. According to tradition, women started wearing black veils as a way of mourning the death of a beloved Dey or governor. The name for veil can also vary from one region to the next, with ‘hayek’ being typical of central Algeria.Veils come in different styles of embroidery and offerings range from plain linen, to fine wool or silk. They are worn to preserve a woman‘s modesty but also to protect her from the harsh sun typical of that region of the world. While veils are mostly intended to cover a woman‘s body, they also help her hide any precious jewelry she may be wearing under it and protect her from unwanted attention. In the traditional popular narrative, the veil was always seen as the great equalizer and a symbol of unity insofar as it helped blur regional and social differences between people.
The fact that these forms of traditional dresses are still used is a tribute to its comfort and suitability for the climate. It also points to the pride that Algerians take in the tradition of their ancestors and their identity in the modern world.
by Alissa Bumbacher from Switzerland
Bangalore is called the electronic capital of India and it’s the third largest city in India.
In 2019, I was there for two weeks in a school exchange in Bangalore.
We flew about 13 hours with a stop in Oman. After the flight, an employee form the school picked us up at the airport. The drive to Bangalore was a whole new experience. The streets were full and everything was very loud and hectic.
The school’s called NIFT (National Institute of Fashion Technology) and it’s a very nice school.
Almost all of the walls were painted. During the week, we had lessons in the school. Sometimes we went on excursions with the school. For example, we toured a shirt factory. The other students were all very friendly and we spent a lot of time with them.
We learned a lot about the culture and the handcrafts of India. We learned how to dye farbics with natrual colors and also how to carve wood. It was really interesting to getting know new cultures.
The last week, the other students from the school taught us a traditional dance.
Luckiyl for me, it’s really easy to find good food, and the Indians love vegetarian food. So we tested a lot of Indian food.
It was a really great experience. Everything in India is so colourful, but India has a lot of people, and unfortunately also many homeless and poor people. That wasn’t so nice to look at. I definitely want to go India again, maybe to another city.
By Simon Gygli, Switzerland
Switzerland is a small country in the middle of Europe. I was born there and, actually, when I’m not in the USA, I live there. So I will tell you something about this beautiful country.
In Switzerland, you can do a lot of activities. We don’t have an ocean, but in summer you can swim in our rivers or lakes. Most of the time in the summer we have sun and more than 25 degrees (77 Fahrenheit). If you don’t like to swim, you can go hike in the mountains or rent a bike to visit a city.
In the winter, most of the time the weather is very cold, but the good thing is we have snow. So you can go skiing in the mountains. It’s very fun! If you cannot ski, you can rent a sled and go down the hill.
If you like sports, you can go to see a match of ice hockey or soccer. These are two of the most popular sports in Switzerland. When you go to the stadium, there is usually a full house and it is a great atmosphere.
The specialty food in Switzerland is fondue. For a “fondue” you take a big pan, full it with cheese and cook it. When the cheese is hot, you put the pan on the table. Now everybody can put a piece of bread on his fork and put it in the pan. You can also eat fondue with potatoes.
by Solène, Belgium
“Discovery consists of looking at the same thing as everyone else and thinking something different.” Albert Szent Gyorgi
Discovering the world and living in the country are a good way to learn about how the country and the people are, but travelling (sometimes alone) is also important in the discovery of the world.
Visiting another country is good for our personal growth because some countries are very different from our home countries, so we can see the differences about the other population from ours and we can reflect about ourselves, who we are and what we have. We can also be glad about our chances to be in the other country because it’s not possible for everyone. Sometimes, when we’re thinking about this, we realize that our happiness is made by ourselves and not by the others.
Doing the traditional activities and celebrations in the country is very enriching. Like here, in America, the famous tradition after Halloween and Christmas eve is Thanksgiving. It’s very popular and important in the USA, so it’s good to be here and share the cultures. The most important think, in Thanksgiving, is to be thankful for what we have and who we are.
Travelling alone is also a good way to make new friends and be more confident in ourselves. It pushes us to be independent and to fend for ourselves. And being alone can be the moment to think about what we want for our future.
Enjoy every moment on your life! You are free to be who you want. Be thankful for what you have. And the most important, you deserve to be happy!