Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Bowler Hat-Peru's Fashion Statement?

A very striking thing about Peruvian people, particularly the Quechua people of the Colca and Lake Titicaca regions, is their clothing. In today's world, where people in many countries are trying to appear westernized by wearing European style clothes, dying their hair blond or getting colored contact lenses, I was happy to see that the Quechua people are still strongly clinging to their own way of living. They continue to wear their traditional clothes on a daily basis, which for women, comprise of large colorful skirts and loose blouses. The women also grow their hair long and braid them and tie the ends with alpaca wool. And, the finishing touch is the bowler hat.

Quite frankly, I was amused by the bowler hat, as every local lady or girl I saw, had it on. There were so many shapes and varieties of this hat, and some of the prettiest ones had beautiful intricate designs on them.

I found out that the Quechua and Aymara people of Peru and Bolivia have been wearing this hat for several decades, since it was introduced to them in 1920 by the British railway workers. Ever since, this accessory has become part of their traditional wear, and is now manufactured locally. Our guide also told us that as it can get very hot in the lake region, the hat protects the people from sun exposure.

Here, you can see photos of the hats! I even wanted to "fit in" with the Quechua ladies, and tried one on myself! I say, fashion designers should come to Peru to introduce the bowler hat as the latest "in thing"!


1 comments:

David said...

Nice hats !!! It is hard to distinguish the Peruvian from the non-Peruvian... Preethi, you look like a Quechua ;-)

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