By KEVIN TAN
TRENDS in fashion come and go all the time, but not so when it comes to cheerleading!
Cheerleading fashion might have evolved since the sport was born in the 1880s – when the outfits were mostly long wool skirts and sweaters – but apart from that, it has always been about sticking to the basics.
For example, at Cheer, Malaysia’s premier inter-school cheerleading competition, the outfits have become more colourful and flashy over the last 14 years. The overall design and shape however, have remained the same so the cheerleaders have freedom of movement, which in turn will help keep them safe from injury.
This year, Cheer will be back in June, organised once again by R.AGE and presented by MARIGOLD HL Low Fat Milk.
According to Priscilla Wong, 22, a cheerleading coach and costume designer for Cheer Aspirations, a classic cheerleading outfit consists of a body fitting turtle neck top with long sleeves and a pleated skirt.
“Not a lot of teams wear turtle necks now, and the skirts have less pleats – but you still need at least three pleats,” she said, adding that pleats help the skirts fall in place easier during performances.
When Cheer first started, most of the costume designs were rather plain according to Wong. Thesedays, most of the costumes are embellished with sequins and rhinestones, and they can cost quite a bit.
Cheerleading coach Lim Chee Wei said they cost between RM200 and RM280.
“The guys’ outfits tend to be cheaper, because the girls’ outfits have to be fitted,” he said.
Team Calyx All-Girls captain Lin Yee Thong, 16, from SMJK Katholik, PJ, said teams have the creative freedom to design their costumes – as long as they abide by the rules and regulations.
Calyx have done well in the past with their costume design, winning the Best Dressed award at Cheer 2009 and the Silkygirl Best Make-up Award in 2012.
“Calyx’s colour theme is pink, and this year we are going to have zebra stripes on our tops and skirts,” said Lin. “Pink is a sharp and striking colour, and it will make a strong impression as we perform. But at the same time, it’s also a very feminine colour.”
According to Wong, the costumes and the cheerleaders’ performance go hand in hand.
“The design and fit of the costume can really influence a performance. For example, if the colours on the front and back of the costume is different, when the cheerleaders turn around, it will create a nice effect,” she explained.
Monica Chen, captain of team D*Starz from SMK (P) Sri Aman, PJ, said that colours such as red and blue are very common for costumes. D*Starz were also Silkygirl Best Make-up winners back in 2011.
“There are only two teams, including ourselves, that have our costumes in orange, so it is a unique colour. Back in 2010, we also had leopard print on our costumes,” said Chen.
Like Calyx, D*Starz finds inspiration for their costume designs from the Internet.
“This year, teams are able to have shoulder cut-offs for their costumes. That seems to be the latest trend,” said Wong.
However, D*Starz is planning on keeping it classic and focus on their performance, as they emerged third in Cheer last year, and they plan to keep up the good work.
“We won’t be doing any shoulder cut-offs or anything new this year. We are going to keep it classic and simple, but I really look forward to see how Calyx’s costume will turn out. Their costumes are usually really nice,” said Chen.
Want to see how all the costumes turn out this year?
Well, the Cheer 2013 finals will be taking place at the Putra Indoor Stadium in Bukit Jalil, Kuala Lumpur on June 29 and 30. Admission to the event is free to all.
Cheer 2013 is organised by R.AGE and presented by MARIGOLD HL Low Fat Milk. The main sponsor is Silkygirl and the co-sponsor is Sugus. Red FM is the official radio station.