What an amazing theme for #FolkloreThursday this week! Requests for #clothing lore makes for the perfect opportunity to highlight this wonderful poster set produced by the International Wool Secretariat in 1954, titled ‘Costumes of Europe in Wool’.
Each beautifully illustrated poster, while offering somewhat stereotypical representations of European nationalities, is accompanied by explanatory text on the types of wool used (of course) and the costumes, shedding some light on the meanings and traditions behind the garments.
For Norway, we are told that the mountainous regions between villages meant that inhabitants of the valleys rarely saw each other. This led to communities developing their own distinct traditions and costumes making for a bit of decorative rivalry.
In Austria, we discover that the origin of the phrase ‘a feather in his cap’ is associated with the Tyrol-style hat. Wrestlers in the region would fight wearing their hats and attempt to pin their opponent while plucking the feather from their hat. The acquired feather would then become a symbol of the victorious combat.
In Portugal, a fisherman’s hat is of the utmost importance as his woollen “pyjama-like” garments have no pockets. Prudently, small personal items “such as matches and tobacco” are stored safely in his thick woollen cap away from the water.
Handed down through generations of Flemish families, a mother teaches her daughter the tradition of lace-making in the poster for Belgium.
The collection was used as a fashion and textiles teaching resource and were held in the DMU library before being transferred to the archive.
Let’s get knitting!