Words by Jesse Serwer, Photos by Martei Korley—
MODEL: Malia Constance
Visit Dominica during the island’s independence celebrations, and you’re sure to be struck by an outpouring of national pride in the form of the ubiquitous, traditional Creole wear. While other islands acknowledge their mixed African and European heritage by donning similar formal attire during festive seasons, no one does it quite like Dominica. On Creole Day (observed the last Friday before Independence Day, Nov. 3), the entire island’s population is encouraged to sport traditional Creole wear—marked by West African plaid patterns and European-style cuts. Not everyone complies, but almost everybody does– from schoolchildren to bank tellers to the Prime Minister.
The twin beauty/cultural pageants known as Madame Wob Dwiyet (for mature women) and Miss Wob Dwiyet (for young women and teenage girls) have helped keep this tradition alive and vibrant. At the pageants, held in the capital, Roseau, during the independence season, women showcase homemade spins on the ladies’ traditional wear known as wob dwiyet, but are judged on their mastery of traditional movements in the dress as well as knowledge of Dominican culture. International editions of the pageants are also held in the US and Canada, with winners who often go on to compete at the main event in Roseau.
Scroll through for Martei Korley’s images of Malia Constance at the Dominica Botanical Gardens in Roseau.