Ukraine

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Hutsul avaThe Hutsul clothing tradition is interesting because of its peculiarities and uniquity. Local craftsmen were (and still are) especially skilled in working with leather and metal. We’ve already written about Ukrainian traditional jewelry made from brass. And now, we’d like to talk about folk clothing accessories used in the Carpathian region – ornate leather shoes, belts, and bags. These pieces are so very beautiful and remarkable that we can’t miss the opportunity to show them to you.

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Jewelry avaThe tradition of using jewelry in Ukraine is old and developed. For centuries, Ukrainian men – but mostly women – have been wearing jewels made from metal, glass, stones, and other natural and artificial materials. The most widespread pieces are coral necklaces, Venetian glass beaded necklaces, and metal pendants (dukaches and crosses made from gold, silver, copper, or brass). Here, we’d like to share with you several photos of beautiful, ornate, and intricately made jewelry items worn by Ukrainian women during the last 200 years.

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Dukach avaOne of the most popular traditional jewelry pieces in Ukraine is called a “dukach”. It is a pendant of sorts and it is usually made from a coin (gold, silver, or even copper) or a religious icon. This jewelry item is often pretty massive and intricately decorated. It can be hung on a chain or ribbon as a self-sufficient piece or be a part of a necklace. Here, we’d like to show you some photos of dukach jewels from a great exhibition held in one of Ukrainian museums.

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Polissia avaUkraine is one of those countries in Europe that have diverse climate and relief. Therefore, the old clothing traditions are also rather different for various regions. Today, we’d like to talk about one of the most curious Ukrainian areas – a so-called “Polissia”. It is a region of dense forests and swamps, that’s why the clothing customs here are a little bit extraordinary. The vintage sets of folk clothing from Polissia are preserved in Ukrainian museums and in a pretty good shape. So, we’d like to show you 7 full sets of absolutely beautiful women’s costumes from Ukrainian Polissia.

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Underwear avaIf you think that 19th-century fashion in Europe was reduced to corsets, crinolines, and bustles, you’re wrong. Just look at the folk underwear used in Ukraine in the same time period – it’s the opposite fashion trend. It’s all about natural lines, minimum of undergarments, and beautiful embellishments on the visible parts of the clothing. But let’s find out the most curious facts about Ukrainian traditional underwear worn in the 19th century. We may surprise you.

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Vyshyvanka avaUkrainian authentic embroidered shirts made a 100 or more years ago, are adorned with beautiful and diverse patterns. The symbols were chosen on purpose and every craftswoman knew their meaning. Also, there was a large variety of embroidery stitches and techniques, used to make the shirts. Today though, modern embroidered shirts or so-called “vyshyvanka” are much more simple and look similar. Ukrainians almost forgot the hidden meaning of ancient embroidery designs. But this knowledge is returning to these people little by little.

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Vira Nakonechny avaUkrainians even in the 21st century take great pride in their embroidery. These are considered high art and filled with themes that are deeply symbolic and meaningful. One of the famous Ukrainian artisans is Vira Nakonechny. She is skilled in many folk crafts, including embroidery, weaving, beading, folk costume reconstruction, etc. She is a woman that doesn’t even live in Ukraine, wasn’t born in Ukraine, and visited Ukraine for the first time at a rather mature age, but she’s Ukrainian by descent. And, living in the US, she teaches people how to do Ukrainian handicrafts.

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Cradle avaIn Ukraine, children traditionally wore embroidered shirts from a very young age. The patterns served as the protection from evil. Most of the time, children were dressed in a shirt and nothing more – only at the age of 3, 10, or even 15 (depends on a region of the country), they added skirts, trousers, belts, and other garments. We’d like to show you some of the embroidered pieces of clothing used by Ukrainian kids at the beginning of the 20th century.

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Male costume avaVintage men’s clothing in Ukraine is rather hard to find. Most of such garments didn’t survive till these days, unlike female costumes (of which there are plenty). We would like to show you 12 authentic male outfits from the end of the 19th – the first half of the 20th century. The garments are stored in The Ukrainian national center of folk culture “Ivan Honchar Museum” and in private collections. You can find some pretty interesting and opulent pieces here. Also, there are several typically masculine accessories to supplement the costumes. Enjoy!

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Ukraine avaUkrainian traditional costumes from western, northern, and north-western regions of Ukraine are very colorful, bright, and sophisticated. In this areas, proud-spirited and honorable people traditionally lived, and their costumes are like that as well. We are glad to share with you several photos of female folk outfits from the mentioned Ukrainian regions. You will also find out how different garments and jewelry pieces are named.

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Earrings ava2The jewelry makers in Kievan Rus’ were amazingly skilled. And their production was in a great demand. You can’t imagine the finished outfit of a local woman without jewels. We tried to gather as much interesting info about jewelry pieces of Kievan Rus’ as possible. From this article, you’ll find out what is skan’ and zern’, what jewels did Medieval people wear, and what designs of jewelry were the most popular. Also, you’ll learn why stone-set rings of the period lost their stones so easily. And much more.

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Embroidery avaUkrainian traditional embroidery is one of the main clothing crafts in this country. It is said that embroidering can increase person’s energy field and thus, helps to maintain good health. People in Ukraine really believe in that, especially those who have spent decades practicing this craft. Yuriy Melnychuk is one of the few men in Ukraine – because most Ukrainians consider embroidery to be women’s work – who became a skilled craftsman. He embroiders, teaches other people how to do it, and gathers his own collection of vintage samples of embroidered costumes and embroidery patterns.

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Necklace9 avaUkrainian folk costume is always complimented with such jewelry pieces as necklaces. And traditionally it is normal to mix and combine different kinds of necklaces, no matter what the shape, material, or price of them is. Brides even covered their neck, breasts, and stomach with various necklaces – from the chin to the waist. Despite the lack of a united style, Ukrainian vintage jewelry sets look very beautiful and balanced.

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bag avaUkraine has some cool traditions regarding folk accessories, especially bags. Ukrainian traditional handbags, shoulder bags, and purses are diverse, bright, and richly decorated. Each of them has its own purpose. Today, it is hard to imagine that a man and a woman can share one bag. But in some regions of the country, folk bags are unisex and still stylish.

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Vytoky avaIt’s not often that the folklore and traditional costumes are presented at the Fashion Weeks around the world. Most of the designers strive to invent and show something new, to shock and surprise the public. Though, one of Ukrainian Fashion Weeks presented the vintage folk clothes and got really good feedback. Sometimes the latest clothing trends and old clothing traditions get intertwined or merged pretty nicely, don’t they?

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necklace avaThe national costume of Ukraine always includes a necklace. In old days, the rings, earrings, or bracelets were traditionally less common. But a necklace was a must-have and an integral part of any attire – festive or daily dress. It served not only as an embellishment but also as a protection amulet and a mean to show the status and financial capability of the wearer. The Ukrainian tradition of using various necklaces is rich and exciting.

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Costume Lviv avaUkrainian traditional clothing is rather diverse. The festive outfits are always colorful and rich in embroidery and bright decorations. But there are certain regional features that help to distinguish the attires according to the area of origin. Here you are the collection of the folk costumes from different regions of Ukraine that belongs to the Museum of Ethnography and Crafts in Lviv (western Ukraine).

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Ukrainian embroidery2 avaFor Ukrainians, embroidering is very symbolic. Only women used to embroider because this process was considered sacred – though, today anyone can do it. When a woman is embroidering she scribes the life she wants for the owner of the piece on the fabric. Hand embroidering is a process similar to the meditation. In Ukraine, people believe in the power of embroidering and know how to use this power.

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Ukrainian embroidery avaThe tradition of making and using embroidery on fabric in Ukraine is very ancient and strong. Many pieces of the national costume of this country are embroidered (like embroidered shirt called “vyshyvanka”), as well as festive towels (called “rushnyk”), tablecloths, toys, and other household items. There are over 250 embroidery stitches used by the craftswomen. Every region of Ukraine has its own patterns, symbols, traditions, colors, and techniques of embroidering.

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Fashion show avaMany modern young people in Ukraine are fond of the national costumes of this country. Of course, you can buy a modern embroidered shirt called “vyshyvanka” without any efforts at all. But in Ukraine, today it is prestigious and stylish to have a full set of authentic clothing: a shirt embroidered by a great-great-granny, garments made from a homespun cloth, vintage hand-woven pieces, etc. Here is a nice modern fashion show of vintage Ukrainian outfits organized by several students. All the costumes were collected in different villages around the country piece by piece.

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Art of presenting embroidery avaUkraine treasures its clothing traditions very much. The exhibitions of vintage embroidered garments and folk costumes are often held in this country. In some cases, such exhibitions can be ordinary and even a little dull but there are exceptions. A few days ago Ukraine had an international festival of traditional cultures called “Ethnoworld”. One of the items presented at that event was a collection of vintage embroidered women’s shirts. The pieces themselves were extraordinary but the presentation was even more striking.

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Kolomyia avaThe Carpathian regions of Ukraine are famous for their traditional crafts and clothing. Nowhere else in Ukraine will you find as richly embellished and outstanding outfits as the clothing used by Ukrainian Hutsuls. These highlanders are very proud, skillful, and hardworking people. And all of that is reflected in their traditional costumes. Some pieces of clothing are used only in Carpathian regions and are really unique. If you haven't seen Hutsul folk costumes, you can't have the full picture of Ukrainian heritage in the art of traditional dressing.

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loom avaA loom is a machine used to weave cloth. Weaving is one of the oldest crafts in the world. Hundreds of years ago people used to make all their clothes at home. They grew special plants and animals, made yarn, wove cloth and sewed clothing. Nowadays almost all kinds of fabric are made industrially. But even today some people continue their grandmother's work and weave cloth with a help of small wooden looms. It is really interesting to compare several different looms. They may have diverse construction and elements, but their principles of work are mostly the same.

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Womens-festive-clothing avaUkrainian traditional clothing of the end of the 19th century – the early 20th century still had a lot of features historically typical for this country. Women used embroidered garments, bonnet-like headdresses, colorful pieces of clothes, woven items, and richly decorated outerwear and bags. Today most of such vintage outfits belong to museums and private collectors. The costumes we'd like to show you right now belong to the large collection of the National Museum of the History of Ukraine.

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female-costume avaThese photos represent the traditional costumes of Ukraine used at the end of the 19th – beginning of the 20th century. All the costumes today belong to the private collections of Vira Matkovska and Olena Didyk. The outfits are shown to the public pretty seldom. The main features of garments used during this specified period of time are bright colors, dense embroidery, beautiful and colorful headdresses, and a small amount of jewelry.

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borshchiv avaBorshchiv embroidered shirts (Ternopil region, Western part of Ukraine) are made using unique techniques and patterns. The traditional clothing of this area differs from any other region of Ukraine. Black color predominates in Borshchiv embroidery patterns. But despite it, the garments look festive and sophisticated, not depressing or mourning. And that's magic. There is a collector in Ukraine who gathers Borshchiv embroidered clothing, studies it and spreads the knowledge about the national heritage of this area of Ukraine. She is Vira Matkovska, and here are several samples from her private collection.