• Photo by Rantje Allen

  • Photo by William Tan

  • Photo by Rantje Allen

  • Photo by William Tan

  • Photo by Rantje Allen

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Karawo Fashion Show 2016

Karawo Fashion Show 2016 delighted an international audience recently in Gorontalo.

Traditional Meets International

Karawo Fashion Show 2016
Ladies evening wear

Karawo is the name for Gorontalo’s traditional embroidery. Local demand for this cloth is very high. Orders mostly come for women’s matching suit and skirt outfits, for men’s shirts, and for tablecloths and napkins. Women’s fabrics detail vibrant floral patterns and colors. For men, geometric shield designs and pastels traditionally dominate for men.

That was until recently. Gorontalo’s provincial government seeks to develop local designers for the international market. Hence, that is the driving force behind Karawo Fashion Show 2016.

Karawo Fashion Show 2016 Design Competition

As part of the annual festival, Karawo Fashion Show 2016 included a design competition. Categories included casual wear, office wear, and evening wear. Also, women’s Muslim wear was another category.  This is in keeping with the culture of the area. Most designs were for women. A few were for men.

The Karawo Fashion Show 2016 featured models parading on the catwalk. Audience members came from all over the world. This included observers from Egypt to Norway.

Drawn Threadwork

Karawo Fashion Show 2016
Traditional meets modern in menswear

In other areas of the world, the seamstress embroiders directly on a piece of cloth. However, karawo involves removing, tying off, and replacing certain threads to create traditional designs. The embroidery is actually inside the cloth. Designs for Karawo Fashion Show 2016 were spectacular.

The seamstress receives the design on paper with grid lines. It must show the position of each thread in the piece of cloth. The paper design shows which threads must be replaced. It also indicates what color the replacement threads will be. Based on the design, she will first begin by drawing out or removing the parts of the threads. This process is called drawn thread work.

In doing this, she creates a grid work. Any thread that is partially removed must be tied off at each end. Otherwise, the cloth will unravel. A pattern measuring two centimeters will typically require the removing of ten threads in each direction. Of course, that will depend on the thread count of the cloth.

Now Sew Colored Threads into the Grid to Make a Design

After creating the grid, she will embroider the design into the cloth. Colored threads can be solid or two-tone. Some designs call for metallic thread.

Karawo Fashion Show 2016
Designer with her creations

Not all the drawn thread is replaced by colored thread. Otherwise, the new pattern would simply be a box shape. Some places where the thread has been drawn still have the threads that form the grid for the design left exposed and loose. Each place where a horizontal and vertical thread meet must be tied together. That way the integrity of the fabric remains. This means that each empty box of the grid must by tied off at each of its four corners. How complicated!

After you book your dive trip with us, please remind us to point out karawo clothing worn by locals.

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