CNMI Guide

Fashion in the Northern Mariana Islands

Picture a beautiful sandy beach, warm, sunny blue skies and an aquamarine coloured sea and you could find yourself in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI for short).  The CNMI has been called America’s best kept secret and it is easy to see why.  The island has a somewhat chequered history, having been claimed as Spanish territory in the 16th century, then German and later Japanese in the 20th century.  The residents decided to become a Commonwealth member of the United States in the 1970’s and therefore now have US citizenship.

The CNMI Guide would tell you that there are fourteen islands, the largest of which is Saipan.  Amongst its many festivals and events is the annual Flame Tree Arts Festival, on Saipan, where the most important fashion accessory is a garland of flowers!  The festival takes place when the flame trees are in bloom and offers local arts and crafts producers the opportunity to demonstrate their skills.  In a country renowned for its tropical maritime climate, friendly, casual atmosphere and welcome to tourists, it is important that clothing is loose and comfortable, rather than high fashion.  Sandals are the universal footwear throughout all fourteen of the Northern Mariana Islands.


In a total population of just over fifty thousand, the vast majority are employed in the service industries, especially tourism and its associated spin-offs of fashion retailers, hairdressing salons and restaurants.  Obviously there is no demand for such clothing items as thick coats or warm boots, but a history of having an active garment manufacturing industry means that it is the perfect place to find the holiday fashions suitable for warm weather, in bright or pastel colours.  There is also an oriental influence with much of the clothing, resulting in elegant but casual fashions for women and comfortable lightweight suits and trousers for men.  You can certainly rely on knowing the type of clothes you need to pack for this holiday, as the climate remains more or less the same throughout the year.