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Jacob Netzler

Fashion and Purpose: Pacific Campaigns Assistant Tunai Matia Jacob Netzler, hailing from the vibrant islands of Samoa, embodies the essence of sustainable fashion through his attire. His outfit not only represents the customary business and formal wear of his homeland but also encapsulates a deeper narrative.

Starting from the bottom, Tunai wears an Efi Tanga, a lightweight wraparound, essential in the island’s heat, ensuring comfort and breathability. Traditional Samoan attire for men often includes garments like a lavalava (also known as an ie or tupenu), which is a type of wraparound skirt made from a single piece of fabric. It’s possible that “Efi Tanga” could be a regional or local variation or a term specific to certain ceremonial or formal wear within Samoa. It’s important to note that the term might be specific to the speaker’s local dialect or context and might not be widely recognized or used outside of that specific community or region.

In Polynesia, red traditionally signifies royalty, reserved exclusively for chiefs and leaders to honor their culture. The ‘Ula Fala necklace, crafted from dried pandanus fruit and painted red, symbolizes chieftainship in Samoan culture. The Matai (family chief), talking chief, orator, or high chief, wear the ‘Ula Fala’ during special occasions and functions, it underscores leadership and responsibility within the community. Tunai’s choice to wear the Ula Fala at COP 28 resonates deeply, emphasizing his role alongside Pacific negotiators in advocating for climate goals, crucial for small island nations like Samoa facing existential threats from climate change. For small island nations like Samoa, this isn’t just an abstract concern; it’s an existential battle, a fight for survival in the face of climate change’s life-or-death impact on their communities.

Tunai’s outfit speaks volumes, not merely as a fashion statement but as a poignant reflection of the urgent fight for environmental sustainability and the preservation of island cultures against the imminent threat of climate change. His presence at COP 28 embodies the determination and resilience of island communities, underscoring the gravity of the climate crisis and the crucial need for global action.

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