October 12, 2012—Last night the Marshall Islands Resort’s poolside area was lit up by an exciting and unique fashion show that celebrated Marshallese fashion through the ages. The fashion show was the highlight of the farewell dinner closing-out this week’s Ministers of Tourism Conference that was held in Majuro, hosted by the Marshall Islands Visitors Authority (MIVA). During the fashion show, the clothing and accessories of four distinct eras in Marshallese fashion were showcased: The “Jaki Era” (pre-Western contact/pre-missionary), where the use of coconut and pandanus fibers woven together were the main materials for body cover in addition to tattoos; the “Missionary Era” (arrival of foreigners), with elaboration on covering bare skin and banning tattoos; the “80’s Era,” when the islands were experimenting with different styles of clothing, in addition to recognizing the influence of Christianity and Politics ; and the “Modern Era,” that emphasizes accessories with traditional significance and church influence, as well as adapting to globalization and technology. The use of history narratives, traditional chants, music and dances complemented the modeling of the fashions for each era.
The remarkably successful fashion show was organized by the Kora in Okrane (KIO) Club, with the participation of several community members and local groups, such as Jambo Arts, Wan Aelon in Majol, Jimokmok Dance Group, and Mejit Jidbak Group. Two U.S. Embassy Majuro staff members, Yetta Aliven and Darlene Korok, contributed to the show: Yetta, an active member of the KIO club, contributed to the dancing, costumes and organization of the “Jaki Era” portion of the show, while Darlene was involved with creating costumes for the “Modern Era” portion of the show.