Art: Fijian Traditional Dress

By |September 7th, 2018|Country: |


This is a photograph of one of the objects in the Fiji: Art & Life in the Pacific exhibition that was put together at the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts at the University of East Anglia last fall. I love dresses, and love wearing them, and this, to me, seems a perfect dress that would fit every silhouette and every woman, cis or trans. Right? But what about other genders and identities? Can this dress accommodate them? Before seeing this dress I was googling “how to wear a dress and be masculine” and “how to look less cis in a dress”, apparently, questions that no one had addressed in the public realm of Google before. The daily grind of a non binary person, no big deal. However, I was delighted this particular dress can be a traditional costume for men, women and everyone in between. In fact, when a pair gets married in Fiji, they both wear such dresses. Unless they’re more modern, in which case the bride goes for a more Western silhouette, copying Kate Middleton or something. But the groom stays in this perfection. And dang, it’s fabulous. I have never had a dream wedding or something of the like in the head, but wearing matching dresses even if people of very different genders are being wed is something I’ll consider adding to the bucket list.

I only wish Fiji was as open to marriage equality as it is to fabulous wedding clothes. But they’re moving in that direction, slowly. Sometimes substance follows clothes.