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Wild Card Prize - Lovely piece of research and adaptation and wonderful to see representation of a pre-colonial Sudanese style of clothing
Akoko’s Wedding Dress
Outline the story …
The book "The River and The Source" is by Margaret A. Ogola that traces the lives of three generations of women. Beginning with the story of Akoko set in her rich traditional Luo culture through to all the children of Awiti into the 20th century. My entry is inspired by Akoko’s traditional wedding garment. She was married before colonization so it means that her dressing was very minimal. The book gives an overview description so I researched on what she would have worn at the time with references from historical photos of precolonial dressing for Luo’s. A great resource was the Pitts Rivers museum website. http://web.prm.ox.ac.uk/Luo/luo/browse/special/all/page1/
Luo’s did not wear clothes but adorned themselves in ornaments. They had beaded ornaments on their necks, arms, legs and waist. The men’s accessories were more flamboyant than the ladies. The only time they wore a covering was after they were married. The loincloths ranged from an actual animal hide to a strings of beads made into a covering. I also borrowed some inspiration from some Luo tribes from Sudan that had corset like waist ornaments as part of their garments.
Outline the construction…
I picked a brown cotton fabric to symbolize the animal hide. I designed the garment shape of a bustier with a loin cloth attached to it on front and back. I beaded the front section. I also decided to add a waist corset to further accentuate my waist as described in the book but also to give the waist ornaments more character.
I had two main challenges, beading the corset as well as beading the front part of the loin cloth. The corset itself was my first attempt at a waist cincher and I used plastic bones which worked quite well. There was a bit of a fit issue but all in all it came out well
The front part of the loin cloth gave me some structural issues because of the weight of the beads but I came up with a way to stabilize them with wire rode’s inside. I used a variety of locally available beads a mixture of plastic beads and clay beads. I used nylon thread to string the beads.
Getting brace accessories was also a challenge so I resorted to making beaded ornaments with gold colored beads. I made the bracelet, necklace and anklets. When modeling the garment I chose to cover my sides with a fabric which is not part of the costume but I felt would still compliment it and still keep the theme intact.