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Aloha shirts were out at APEC, but ikat is in at ASEAN

By Star-Advertiser staff and pool reports

POSTED:
LAST UPDATED: 05:09 p.m. HST, Nov 18, 2011


Aloha shirts were out at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit family photo in Hawaii.

But apparently members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations are not as uptight.

Leaders of the 18 countries at the East Asia Summit following the ASEAN meeting posed for their family photo in Javanese traditional garb --  colorful ikat fabrics -- provided by Indonesia, this year's host country.

President Barack Obama joined in the photo. This is the first year that the U.S. and Russia were invited to join the summit meeting held in Bali, Indonesia.

Obama came out in a long-sleeve green shirt with orange, blue and red trim in a traditional pattern.

Obama's mother, Stanley Ann Dunham, did her University of Hawaii Ph.D. research on traditional crafts in Indonesia, including ikat fabrics. She also worked with women in Indonesia helping them set up small businesses involving traditional crafts like weaving and dying.

At the APEC meeting in Honolulu, President Obama broke with the tradition of APEC leaders posing for photos in costumes from the host country.

Instead of aloha shirts, the 21 APEC leaders all took to the photo platform in dark suits with individual tie selections, save for one: Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard, who wore a white blazer over a reddish blouse.

There had been some speculation that aloha shirts would be scrapped to avoid the appearance of world leaders acting frivolously during a time of economic austerity.

Asked at a press conference about the decision, Obama said Sunday that leaders were given a aloha shirt, "and if they wanted to wear the shirt, I promise you it would've been fine. But I didn't hear a lot of complaints about us breaking precedent on that one."

Obama said he had looked at past family photo outfits, "and I thought, 'This may be a tradition that we might want to break.'" Leaders at last year's meetings, in Yokohama, Japan, also ditched traditional-style garb.





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