Open in new tab - Back to search results

Ukraine : when costume tells history



Publication date


The Ukrainian folk costume

The Ukrainian folk costume combines utilitarianism and beauty. This traditional costume has changed throughout generations due to the influence of historical, social and cultural factors. In the middle of 20th century, folk costume incorporated embroidery designs and was made out of linen, hemp and wool. Clothes-making was at that time the main economic activity of Ukrainians. Each pattern of the traditional clothing suggested the ethnical background, the social status and the marital situation of the person. Today, we can find a large number of Ukrainian embroidered clothes stored in different museums of the United States of America and Canada due to the mass migration of Ukrainians in the 19th and early 20th century.

During the second world war, people buried their clothes in the ground in order to preserve the priceless national heritage of embroidery from the Soviet and the German occupiers. After the end of world war, the traditional embroidered clothes became a manifestation of belonging to the Ukrainian nation worn by writers, politicians, activists, and journalists. Traditional Ukrainian embroidery became a source of inspiration for many international luxurious brands such as: Gucci, Dolce & Gabbana, Jean-Paul Gaultier, John Galliano and many others.

The Homestead project

Homestead is the result of the collaboration of the Ukrainian San Antonio Foundation with the National Museum of Architecture and Folk Life of Ukraine, in Kyiv. This museum preserves furniture, handicrafts, clothes, shoes, hairdos, jewelry and ornaments, in order to preserve the memory of Ukrainian culture and its cultural heritage. Thanks to this collaboration and extensive research work, Homestead was able to precisely match the architecture, furniture and objects with the clothing of each major region of Ukraine and could reproduce the atmosphere by involving the today’s inhabitants as main actors. Through a series of photographs of these reconstructions, the project educates us on the cultural diversity and customs of the different regions of Ukraine. The photographs present traditional Ukrainian clothing, architectural styles, hairstyles and accessories typical of a specific territory and period, between the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century. Homestead is a one-of-a-kind project for its informative dimension. Indeed, its objective is to make known the cultural richness of Ukraine to the Ukrainians still present on the territory, to those who now belong to the diaspora but also to a much wider public.

The images created, enriched with very detailed descriptions, are the subject of postcards, intended to be sold to finance exhibitions in other countries.


Related resources

Newsletter – Crafts and Heritage Education on madineurope

Crafting Contemporary Education: For Mad’in Europe, the Safeguard of Heritage begins with the education of…

Guidebook: Crafts Youth Future Engagement (CYFE)

GUIDEBOOK This guidebook was produced in the context of the Erasmus+ project Crafts Youth Future…


A FOCUS ON ITALY Silk has always been present in human history, and the economic…

The healing power of crafts

The tragic conflict in Ukraine has been evolving for more than one year. We wish…

Invite a friend