Swedish Boys' Garments: Folk Costumes



Figure 1.--As in other European countries that began to industralize, there developed a nostalgic interest in rural origins. Here we see children, presumably brother and sister, in folk costumes. We suspect these are city children wearing costumes rather than country children who dressed this way. The portrait was done as s CDV done in the style of a cabinet card, probanly about 1900. The studio was John Bergquist in Linköping, Filipstad.

There are two different types of Swedish folk costumes. The first type is the traditional clothing of the Lapps/Sammi in the north. Lapland lies in a geographically interesting position. Lappland is a vast area of northeastern Europe, largely within the Arctic Circle. It is part of the northernmost region of Fennoscandia known as the 'Calotte'. Its southern border roughly follows the Actic Circle. Lappland covers northern Norway, northern Sweden, northern Finland, and Russia's Kola Peninsula of Russia. Relations with Sweden and Norway are close, and there are numerous border crossing points. The route to Europe's northernmost spot, the North Cape, runs right through Finnish Lapland. Contact with the Lapps in the Soviet Union was closed early in the Soviet era. We do not yet have much information on them specifically in Sweden. The second type of folk costumes are the tradition clothing of the Swedes. Here we are not talking about the medieval Vikings, but the peasant clothing worn in the 18th and 19th centuries. Actually a German princess played a major role is establishing standards for folk dress or what she called national costume. German Princess, Zähringen Victoria of Baden married Crown Prince Gustavus (1881). They lived in Tullgarn Castle. She became involved in the Nationalist movement. This was in the tradition of European royalty in which a newly married princess was expected to embrace the culture and tradutions of her new country. She decided that it would be a good idea for the female staff at the Castle to wear national costumes. A horticulture student named Märta Palme came to to study the gardens at the Castle. Märta wore a version of the costume that belonged to the region of Vingåker-Österåker in the province of Södermanland. Märta eventually married the royal gardener's son and moved with him to the province of Dalarna as Mrs. Märta Jörgensen. As a result of her experienes, she had developed an interest in Swedish folk costumes. Märta and other interested women formed a Swedish Woman's National Costume Association (1902). Section one of its by-laws states: "The purpose of the association is to bring about a liberation from the domination of foreign fashion among Swedish women through the introduction of a more common use of national costumes". We see similar developments in other European countries. One aspect of this trend was to outfit children in these outfits for portraits.

Lapps/Smmi

The first type of Swedish folk costumes are the traditional clothing of the Lapps/Sammi in the north. Lapland lies in a geographically interesting position. Lappland is a vast area of northeastern Europe, largely within the Arctic Circle. It is part of the northernmost region of Fennoscandia known as the 'Calotte'. Its southern border roughly follows the Arctic Circle. Lappland covers northern Norway, northern Sweden, northern Finland, and Russia's Kola Peninsula of Russia. Lapp traditions are not really Swedish, but rather trafions of the entire northern area. Relations with Sweden and Norway are close, and there are numerous border crossing points. The route to Europe's northernmost spot, the North Cape, runs right through Finnish Lapland. Contact with the Lapps in the Soviet Union was closed early in the Soviet era. We do not yet have much information on them specifically in Sweden.

Swedish Folk Costumes

The second type of folk costumes are the tradition clothing of the Swedes. Here we are not talking about the medieval Vikings, but the peasant clothing worn in the 18th and 19th centuries. As was the general situation throughout Europe, what is today seen as folk costumes had their origins in folk or peasant costume of the period. Peasant communities were fairly isolated by natural borders, bad roads, limited economic opportunities, and centuries of traditiion. Thus rural districts and parishes preserved local costumes and trditions. They were every day wear, but especially elaborate outfits were brought out for special festivities. One auhor suggest that folk costumes became 'uniforms of equality'. By the mid-19th century, major changes were under way in Sweden. The Industrial Revolution was bringing about huge changes in the lives of ordinary individuals. The most obvious changes were in the cities, but gradually reached the countryside as well. One of the changes is that the standard European styles that were once primarily worn in the cities began to be worn in the countryside as well, gradually replacing folk styles. As this ocuured a reaction gradually developed, a kind of ranantic nostalgia for the simpler earlier days. Part of that rmanticism was a knteresting in the disappearing folk costumes. Ironically, a German rather than awedish princess played a major role is establishing standards for folk dress or what she called national costume. German Princess, Zähringen Victoria of Baden married Crown Prince Gustavus (1881). They lived in Tullgarn Castle. She became involved in the Nationalist movement. This was in the tradition of European royalty in which a newly married princess was expected to embrace the culture and tradutions of her new country. She decided that it would be a good idea for the female staff at the Castle to wear national costumes. A horticulture student named Märta Palme came to to study the gardens at the Castle. Märta wore a version of the costume that belonged to the region of Vingåker-Österåker in the province of Södermanland. Märta eventually married the royal gardener's son and moved with him to the province of Dalarna as Mrs. Märta Jörgensen. As a result of her experienes, she had developed an interest in Swedish folk costumes. Märta and other interested women formed a Swedish Woman's National Costume Association (1902). Section one of its by-laws states: "The purpose of the association is to bring about a liberation from the domination of foreign fashion among Swedish women through the introduction of a more common use of national costumes". We see similar developments in other European countries. One aspect of this trend was to outfit children in these outfits for portraits. The interest in folk costumes and traditions was by the turn-of-the 20th century a major Swedish concern. The interest spread well beyond rural areas and former peasant farmers. Folk costumes developed into the country;s national dress and were worn by adults, especially women, as well as children. Some were concerned with replicating actual folk styles. In many cases, brand new folk styles were actually created.








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Created: 3:03 AM 7/8/2011
Last updated: 10:36 PM 1/25/2012