Colorful polleras are symbols of cultural identity in Bolivia’s countryside. The history of the voluminous, traditional skirts worn by Indigenous Aymara and Quechua women is complex: Dating to the Spanish conquest in the 16th century, polleras were imposed by colonial rulers to reflect a style worn in Spain.
The skirts eventually were adopted as part of Andean attire, most commonly associated with cholitas—Indigenous women from the highlands. Polleras inspire cultural pride, but they’re also a reminder of rural oppression.
Now a group of women athletes in Bolivia has brought pollera fashion to the city, donning the skirts during skateboarding exhibitions to celebrate the heritage of cholitas and put a modern face on the ancestral garments.
“The pollera is associated