A closer look at Francis Libiran’s ‘Araw’ barong for Team Philippines

Filipino athletes are set to wear the fashion designer’s barong at the official opening ceremonies of the 32nd Southeast Asian Games in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

For the 32nd edition of the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games, Filipino fashion designer Francis Libiran crafts a barong Tagalog that will be worn by Filipino athletes at the games’ official opening ceremonies in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. 

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Francis Libiran's 'Araw' barong

Dubbed “Araw,” the piece is imbued with the spirit of “liberty, peace, and valor.” It is made of Philippine jusi fabric and adorned with a Philippine flag-inspired design with embroidery of araw (sun) and its rays using fine threads and materials. The sun detail is also echoed on the barong’s collar. 

“It is a symbol of Philippine heritage and nationalism,” his team says. “There are hues of blue that overlap a small bed of red. The focal point of the entire barong Tagalog is the intricately embroidered sun and its rays stretching over the sash and collar.”

This is not Francis’ first time dressing Filipino athletes for the biennial multi-sport event. In 2019, he was appointed by the Philippine Sports Commission to design the official parade uniforms, titled “Flag,” for more than 2,000 athletes and officials at the 30th SEA Games that took place in the Philippines. That continued in 2022 with his “Agila” barong showcased at the 31st SEA Games held in Hanoi, Vietnam.

The 32nd SEA Games is set to take place from May 5 to 17, 2023.

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