Unbound works with families from many different cultures and traditions. Inspired by New York Fashion Week, we want to explore the different fashions that are found within those cultures. Today we’re sharing photos depicting the many different fashions found in Unbound communities.
Sanjeeva in India demonstrates how to put on a head wrap.
These Ugandan elders are sponsored through Unbound and attended a community birthday party. The ladies dressed up for the special event by wearing gomesi, a colorful, full-length dress that originated in Uganda.
Abdul is wearing a sherwani, which is a well-cut, long suit for men worn over tight fitting pants. It is typically worn for special occasions.
Abdul, whose son is sponsored through Unbound, wears a beard to signify his role as a father in the Muslim tradition in the Philippines.
While many teens in the Philippines wear westernized clothing on a regular basis, for special events they wear styles originating from their homeland. Bonson (left) and Mark (right) are wearing barong Tagolog, which is a lightweight formal garment that has been embroidered. Michelle (left) and Brenaldine (right) are both wearing María Clara style gowns. The style is named after a famous character in Filipino literature.
In this photo, sponsored youth from El Salvador wear volcaneña, a traditional outfit consisting of a ruffled skirt and shirt with a matching sash. Because indigenous identity was repressed in the early part of the 20th century by the government, to this day traditional clothing is typically only worn for cultural presentations and Independence Day.
Muslim women in the Philippines wear hijab, or head scarves, with jeans and casual shirts for everyday wear.
For everyday work, Sanjeeva wears a cotton lungi, shirt and stole. His stole also doubles as a head wrap.
Suseela and Pramila are mothers of sponsored children. Here they are wearing silk pattu saris, which are unique to southern India.
Leonardo, whose stepson is sponsored through Unbound, is a farmer in El Salvador. His hat comes from indigenous Salvadoran styles, and is an important part of his wardrobe. In addition to showing that Leonardo comes from a rural area, the hat also does the important job of keeping the sun off his face as he works.
Sponsored youth Afreen is wearing a lancha, a long skirt that is embroidered and pleated, with a matching blouse and stole. Lanchas are favored by young women in India for special occasions.
These sponsored elders from Bolivia are wearing Cholas, a clothing style that has evolved from styles brought by Spaniards when they first visited South America.
Syed is wearing a cotton kurta. Kurta are long tunics worn over traditional pant styles or even jeans. They can be daily wear or formalwear, depending on how they’re made.
Sponsored elders in El Salvador wear traditional dresses while performing folk dances from their area.
Nayezha and her mother, Nurhima, are Muslims from Zamboanga, Philippines. They wear a more elaborate hijab, a veil that covers the head and chest, for special occasions.
A hat typical of Salvadoran indigenous style. Today these hats are mainly worn by older generations and men working in agricultural jobs.
Henna is an important part of many cultures in India. It is commonly used for special events, such as weddings and religious festivals.
This group of sponsored youth gave a cultural performance during the groundbreaking ceremony for the new office location in Antipolo. They are holding up their malong, or tube skirt, which can be worn in a variety of ways. Malong are typically worn during festivals and important events as a sign of respect for the Filipino cultural heritage.
Sponsored child Miriam from Kenya wears the handmade jewelry of the Maasai proudly.
Malee and Leretet are part of a mothers group in Kenya. They are continuing the Maasai clothing traditions by passing them on to their children.
As part of the Muslim community in Zamboanga, Philippines, Zainab and her mother wear hijab that have been decorated with sequins and beadwork for special occasions.
Devaiah is wearing a silk lungi, white shirt and matching stole. Depending on how they are wrapped, lungis can appear more or less pant-like. Lungi is traditional menswear in India. Almost every adult man wears a lungi at various points throughout his lifetime. Silk lungis are for special occasions.
Women in southern India wear half-saris over a shirt and skirt and braid flowers into their hair.
“These bangles were given to me as gift from my in-laws during my wedding. These are exclusively made in Hyderabad, and there is a particular market in Old Hyderabad which sells Laad Bangles,” said Asiya, whose daughter is sponsored through Unbound.
Clothes worn by Muslim women in India for special occasions are often heavily embroidered and beaded. This skirt was embroidered in the Zari style, meaning it was done with metallic threads.
Sirisha and Deepika are sponsored youth from southern India. Girls in their area enjoy combining skirts and half-saris of varying colors to create different outfits.
Jenni is a sponsored girl from central Guatemala. Her clothing is one of the many variations of Mayan-influenced dress found throughout Central America.
Sponsored youth Ruksar demonstrates attire typically worn for Hyderabadi bridal parties called Khada Dupatta. The outfit consists of a kurta (tunic), chooridar (long tight pants) and a six- to eight-yard dupatta (stole). The duppata is wrapped in different styles depending on who in the bridal party is wearing it.
Though the boys are wearing more westernized clothing, Lucia’s clothing is traditional to Mayan culture in Guatemala.
Jordan Kimbrell, writer/editor
Jordan joined the Unbound family in 2011, just a few weeks after completing her masters in English: Creative Writing from Kansas State University. Jordan is constantly inspired by the hope and creativity displayed by the sponsored members and their families and loves being able to share their stories with the rest of the world.