A costume continuum of sorts

I guess there’s a costume continuum of sorts. There’s the folk costume and textile thing which can be modernised in many ways. It can even be worn for daily wear as it is with some tribes, individuals and communities like it has been in the past. Then there’s the sort of costume people wear whenever they perform sports. These are mostly utilitarian and it shows even if it can be customised to be more fashionable especially among some athletes and people.

In fact, they’re even worn to more casual times which some historians have already noted especially in the development of American fashion. It’s even occurring to this day. Then there are costumes that can only be worn on special occasions moreso than folk and sports costume. It’s not even just fancy dress where ordinary everyday clothes can be appropriated for fancy dress (and cosplay) looks if coordinated differently enough.

Something more flamboyant than that and it’s something that has no real analogue to folk, everyday, historical and sports/dance fashion. Now that’s the stuff that mostly exists in fancy dress and cosplay.


The Traditional Irishman’s Outfit

According to researchers, the real traditional Irishman’s outfit (at least up to the Early Modern Period thanks to British colonisation) had nothing to do with kilts. Among certain men at the time, it was likelier to be a wide-sleeved robe similar to what women wore and what Moroccan, Arabian and Bamileke people wear. I think that’s pointed out in one website I’ve been to before.

This kind of Irish costume (robe/dress and mantle/cloak) at least for women not only came back but persisted and evolved over time, that is if you look hard enough and go past the uglier Irish dancing costumes. Sadly due to a mistranslation and habit of emulating the Scottish, what was going to be the Irish version of the Indian kurta or Arabic men’s dress got replaced by a solid coloured kilt.

If the traditional Irish woman’s outfit (or at least a copy/description of one) managed to change and adapt with the times, then should its male counterpart. Admittedly there was one reconstructed Irishman’s costume that wouldn’t look too out of place in a Star Wars film but it could also be that the Irish men’s costume being chosen became something we’re more familiar with.


The Cult of Harry Potter

Like I said, Harry Potter isn’t something I actually read other than knowing it secondhand and watching snippets of it though I do have a copy of one Harry Potter book in my house. Harry Potter is one of the bigger cult phenomena in recent memory. Historically there were already cult followings for fantasy stories like Conan the Barbarian, Tarzan and Lord of the Rings among other things.

There were technically and arguably cult followings around children’s stories, notably superhero stories and to a lesser extent their newspaper counterparts. The biggest ones prior to the Harry Potter series arguably are the works of Frank L Baum and Lewis Caroll, which shouldn’t be surprising if there were still societies around those today.

Frances Hodgson Burnes to some extent given Little Lord Fauntleroy spawned merchandising and what would arguably be considered cosplay as there were Fauntleroy suits produced before. This parallels the degree of merchandising Harry Potter was subjected too, which included fancy dress.

At this point, Little Lord Fauntleroy is a public domain classic where it’s possible to do a Fauntleroy suit for a boy (and then a toy if the former matures) and make more of it without getting sued the way one would with Harry Potter at this point. This leaves Harry Potter and its ilk the biggest cult followings centered around children’s literature today.


Benchmarks of creation

Like I said before, many clothing labels do get their start from dressmaking and tailoring shops even if not all of them become clothing brands proper. Some just remain dressmaking and tailoring shops like the ones in my neighbourhood and the like. Stuff like Bench, Penshoppe and Bayo started out as such, that is clothes-making shops. I could be wrong about it but Bayo specifically started out as a very successful dressmaking shop.

Both Bench and Penshoppe specifically started out selling T-Shirts. (I don’t know much about Paper Dolls but it could’ve originated the way as Bayo and likely Onesimus too.) I suspect that Onesimus might be the most successful tailoring shop in the Philippines which is why it became a big franchise and likely similarly for Bayo to a degree.

Predictably successful dressmaking/tailoring shops branch out to ready to wear mass market lines and fragrances. That’s what Bench and Penshoppe ended up doing but also for global higher end brands like Chanel and Dior.

Birth of a fashion label

Like I said in another post, many clothing brands have their roots in clothing shops proper. Or more parsimoniously, dressmaking and tailoring shops. That’s how brands like Levi Strauss and Bayo got their start. I’ve seen those in my neighbourhood and the more successful or popular ones not only propagate and spread but also become actual clothing manufacturers and retailers. (There are textile manufacturers that do become clothing labels.)

To elaborate, if a dressmaking or tailoring shop becomes really popular with people it’ll be elevated into an actual clothing brand with their own factories of skilled workers to meet the demands of their customers en masse. Lots of Pizza was like that and when it got real popular, it spread quickly and eventually improved on its quality, since it now sells flyers and stuff. That’s what became of Bench, Penshoppe and Bayo as time went.

Some clothing shops never spread as large, especially if they still make custom made or fix clothing for people. (I’ve seen a few come and go with some remaining as they were before.) It could be me observing and learning things from experience.

Some Philippine fashion brands


This one started out as a dress shop before becoming an actual clothing label. It even hired a French designer on some of its collections/clothing. Either the owner changed plans or more likely the dress shop was frequented enough by a lot of customers to become an actual clothing label spawning several shops in towns and malls. I guess that’s really how some clothing labels and brands like Coco Chanel started.


That’s the one I mentioned before where it started out as a simple t-shirt brand before branching out to other kinds of clothing, including underwear as well as fragrances and even foods (as far I recall from reading a newspaper or so). One of my siblings think it lacks variety in clothing. From its perspective, it kind of does as it’s mostly casual.

Paper Doll:

That’s where I got some of the blouses and a dress from (but I do remember buying a dress from one of its shops). It’s somewhat more on the higher end of things but still relatively affordable (imports like Zara and H&M are predictably out of reach). Apparently many of the better known Philippine brands like Bench, Paper Doll and Penshoppe come from the 80s.


Much like Bayo, it started out as a clothing shop and like Bayo again it would’ve been successful and popular enough to spawn a proper clothing label. But then again the same can be said of any of the earlier surviving high fashion labels like Chanel and Dior as they too started out in dressmaking shops, albeit both very high quality and popular with people at the time.



Embroidery on a dress

I’ve been embroidering on a dress for days since the back fabric got thinner. Embroidery is my way of trying to minimise it though one argues I could be worsening the problem. I’m still trying to embroider on the thinner parts to make it seem thicker. (I don’t really know why the fabric got thinner for some reason.)

I’ve been taking breaks since embroidering on it takes a long time to finish and I do remember using multiple threads and needles on various parts to get it done quicker. I’m still on my way to completing every embroidery to make it appear thicker.