kuspuk avaAlaskan traditional garments are often rather comfy, but this particular overshirt also looks very contemporary. It has a large front pocket and a hood – just like our modern beloved hoodie. Although, the fabric print choice is different, as a lot of kuspuks are sewn from the cloth embellished with tiny floral prints or other motley designs. And a small flaring skirt adds femininity to this authentic folk overshirt.

A kuspuk is a traditional hooded overshirt with a spacious front pocket that is commonly worn by Alaska Natives.

Other names for a kuspuk are qaspeq (lit. “cloth over parka”), qasper, qiipaghaq, atikłuk, uġiłiqaaq, depending on the ethnic group of Alaska Natives.

These garments, known as kuspuks, have a tunic-length design, reaching anywhere from below the hips to below the knees. In the case of women's kuspuks, the bottom portion may be gathered, resembling a skirt. While most kuspuks are pullover garments, some feature zippers for added convenience.


Alaskan kuspuk overshirt – it looks so contemporary
Photo from Wikipedia.org


Although kuspuks originated as a Yup'ik garment, they have now gained popularity among both men and women from various Native groups, as well as non-Natives. Initially, kuspuks were crafted using animal skin, gut, or feathered bird skin and were worn over fur parkas to keep them clean. However, with the rise of stores in remote villages, kuspuks started being fashioned from calico grain sacks. Nowadays, kuspuks are predominantly made from brightly printed cotton calico, velvet, or corduroy materials, often embellished with rickrack and fur trimmings. Today, kuspuks are frequently worn as blouses paired with pants.

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