Skip to main content

Style for Style

09/04/2014 10:26AM, Published by Annette Winter, Categories:



Gallery: Style for Style [0 Images] Click any image to expand.



By Sonia R. Garza

E

very September, we look forward to the festivities of the annual International Folk Festival. Attendees have their senses ignited with aromas and sights from around the world, allowing entrance into their lives. But, what defines a culture? Most would agree that food is an integral ingredient…as is the music, but (in my opinion) a country’s culture is defined by their fashion. The anticipated Parade of Nations displays fashions, where we delight in the colors and pageantry of the clothing and witness the country’s artful expression. 

Two cultures represented, Hawaii and Thailand, are separated by the Pacific, but united by their love of country. Kui Rivera is not a native of Fayetteville, but found herself at Fort Bragg following her husband on a military assignment. That is the story of so many residents of the area and that did not stop her from pursuing her dreams of bringing a piece of Hawaii with her. Originally from Honolulu, Kui knew she had to return to her roots. “I didn’t want to lose my tradition,” she said. So in 2006 she made her dream come true when she founded the Hawaiian dance group and has participated every year in the Folk Festival. 

One look at Kui and it is easy to be transported to the Hawaiian Islands. She radiates and embodies the culture of Hawaii, with her long hair and her inviting smile. The dance group meets to practice at E.E. Miller Recreation Center and is comprised of both men and women, of various ages and nationalities…from Filipino to Indonesian. And it is no surprise that because Fort Bragg is home to the Special Operations Command, two of the three male dancers of the group have worn the coveted Green Beret. 

Hula is the more popular and widely recognized dance. Watching the group dance hula is like seeing ocean waves come ashore with both a fluidity and loveliness that makes you feel instantly at ease. “We wear a pa’u,” Kui said. “It’s a calf length flowery skirt that moves more easily with the hips.” Males wear a wrap around the waist called a pareo. "It is also known as a sarong," said Kui.

“I teach the group how to sew their own outfits,” Kui said proudly. Skirts are made with love as each blade of grass is measured and cut to a precise length. She then advised her students, “Treat your skirts with tender love and care.”

A veteran to the group, Freda Kerr, has traveled from Raleigh for three years to dance hula. “It’s a passion for me,” she said. Hawaii holds a special place in her heart...as her and her late husband first traveled to Hawaii on their 10th anniversary. “Hawaiian culture is passion….it’s heart,” she paused. “When I put the clothing on, it’s peaceful for me. You can say it’s my meditation,” she said while smiling. 

One of the youngest students of the group is Katrina Pappa, a senior at Jack Britt High School. She has been dancing with the group since November and this will be her first year dancing in the festival. “I feel more immersed in the culture and history when I wear the clothing. It makes me happy and feel good inside,” she said, fixing the hibiscus flower above her right ear, signifying she is single. Worn to the left means you are taken. 

Traveling further west is Thailand, located in Southeast Asia. Kingkeaw May is the Thai dance group representative and also came to Fayetteville on her husband’s military orders. Much like the culture of Hawaii, Thai culture tells stories through dance and song. 

Modesty is evident in Thai clothing and ever so graceful and elegant. Each piece is hand spun with the finest silk and lace with beads strung by hand. The traditional Thai dress for women is vibrant with bold colors and combinations with intricate patterns woven throughout. Women's attire consists of a pha nung, a long, rectangular cloth worn around the lower body that can be folded in several different ways. "No matter which way you pull the fabric, you will not see my legs," laughed Gaid Manee, a dancer in the Thai group.

Accessories include a sabai, a shaw-like garment, draped diagonally around the chest over the left shoulder and dropped to the back. Manee wears gold jewelry, a headpiece adorned with gemstones and an orchid in her hair to give it a formal touch. “It makes me feel young to wear this,” said Gaid. “Yes,” Kingkeaw agreed. “It makes me feel proud to wear them too.”

A traditional men’s costume consists of a chong kraben or pants worn by wrapping around the waist and twisting the ends together to pull the twisted fabric between the legs. 

The group consists of about 20 friends and family from the Buddhist Temple, Wat Mungme Srisuk, in Camden. The temple is currently under construction and the group is hoping that fundraisers will help finish it. 

These two cultures have traces and elements of western influence, but with ever changing fashion the core stays deeply rooted in history and tradition. 




  • Tai Chi for Health

    05/23/2017
    10:00AM

    Practice this flowing eastern exercise with instructor Rich Martin while overlooking the Garden. ...


  • Cape Fear Studios' 27th Anniversary

    05/23/2017
    06:00PM — 08:00PM

    Cape Fear Studios' 27th Anniversary is being celebrated by their member artists. Come explore a v...


  • Local Organic Farmers Market

    05/24/2017
    04:00PM — 06:00PM

    Enjoy high quality, locally sourced produce from certified organic farmers. Come out and meet the...


  • Yoga in the Garden

    05/24/2017
    06:00PM — 07:00PM

    Cape Fear Botanical Garden and YMCA of Sandhills have partnered to bring you "Yoga in the Garden....


  • National Poppy Day

    05/26/2017
    05:00AM — 11:00PM

    Join with The American Legion and wear a red poppy Friday, May 26. National Poppy Day is to re...


  • Enjoy watching all the racing action on the 1/2-mile clay track at Fayetteville Motor Speedway du...


  • Memorial Day Tent Sale at Southern Design

    05/26/2017
    09:30AM — 05:00PM

    Come to Southern Design Furniture May 25 - May 31 and enjoy great Memorial Day sale prices on bea...


  • Plant Appreciation Walking Group

    05/26/2017
    03:00PM — 04:30PM

    Meet other plant lovers and walk the trails at the park and along the Cape Fear River (CFR) ident...


  • 3rd Annual Art Show

    05/26/2017
    06:00PM — 09:00PM

    Join us for the 3rd Annual Art Show Reception on May 26, at 6pm! The exhibit will run May 26 - J...


  • 4th Friday

    05/26/2017
    06:00PM — 10:00PM

    On the Fourth Friday of every month between 6:00 and 10:00pm, Downtown features history exhibits,...


  • The Diary of Anne Frank

    05/26/2017
    08:00PM

    The Gilbert Theater's last show of the 2016-2017 season is The Diary of Anne Frank, written by Go...


  • Birthday Dance & Potluck

    05/26/2017
    09:00PM — 01:00AM

    Celebrate your birthday month with others every 4th Friday of the month! Birthday dance & potluc...


  • Memorial Day Tent Sale at Southern Design

    05/27/2017
    09:30AM — 05:00PM

    Come to Southern Design Furniture May 25 - May 31 and enjoy great Memorial Day sale prices on bea...


  • Public Works

    05/27/2017
    12:00PM — 04:00PM

    Come see all types of visual art for all ages. Visit the Arts Council's galleries to see the lar...


  • It’s America in 1963, with the turmoil of the JFK assasination and the civil rights movement. In ...


  • Fish Fry Fundraiser

    05/29/2017
    09:00AM — 08:00PM

    Event June 3 at 5 p.m. - 8 p.m. Join Raeford United Methodist Church for their annual Good Ne...


  • Memorial Day Tent Sale at Southern Design

    05/29/2017
    09:30AM — 05:00PM

    Come to Southern Design Furniture May 25 - May 31 and enjoy great Memorial Day sale prices on bea...


  • Memorial Day Tent Sale at Southern Design

    05/25/2017
    09:30AM — 05:00PM

    Come to Southern Design Furniture May 25 - May 31 and enjoy great Memorial Day sale prices on bea...


  • National Poppy Day

    05/26/2017
    05:00AM — 11:00PM

    Join with The American Legion and wear a red poppy Friday, May 26. National Poppy Day is to re...


  • Public Works

    05/27/2017
    12:00PM — 04:00PM

    Come see all types of visual art for all ages. Visit the Arts Council's galleries to see the lar...


  • This is the fifth annual concert where the Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra will play patriotic an...


CityView Facebook
CityView Family Facebook