Many designers find inspiration in folklore and traditional clothes from all around the globe. Collections with different cultural ”flavors” pop up time and time again. Why is that? And can we learn anything from folklore?
Folklore is an expression of the soul of different countries.
The usually simple and brilliantly constructed garments are part of our cultural heritage, developed during millennia. They are adapted to weather conditions as well as common day-to-day work. Celebrations and rituals from different races and religions have also shaped their form.
What make them stand out is the rich decoration, so different from many strict (and dare I say boring?) contemporary garments.
The decorative symbols have a deeper meaning and connect us to our roots.
If we compare this type of clothing to contemporary fashion, there are many differences. A person who is familiar with textile craft knows how many hours and effort must have been spent on each small detail, and how high the price would be compared to factory made garments.
Another obvious difference is that fashion is built on constant change, while traditional garments remain the same (even though the variations are endless). Fashion compels us to live up to beauty ideals, while folklore provides us with functional basic clothes, engraved and decorated with inherent values from a specific culture.
City life has severed the threads to our cultural heritage and textile roots.
But the mere fact that we are continually inspired by traditional garments tells us that there is a longing. Maybe we can be inspired to find a way back to a deeper, more joyous and meaningful way of making and decorating garments.
Which culture’s traditional garments are you most inspired by and what values lie at the roots of their expression? This might tell you a thing or two about your own unique soul…
Gudrun Sjödén is a Swedish designer whose collections are always inspired by folklore. Watch her two videos about ”Folklore of the World”: Part 1 and Part 2
Are you interested in conscious clothing and the future of clothes?