In case you happen to be interested in the traditional folk clothing of the Eastern Europe you can be aware of such a unique and interesting piece of Ukrainian fashion history as “vyshyvanka”. And if you’re not, it’s probably about time to fix this, because vyshyvanka becomes more and more popular in the world and particularly in Europe. So what is it? Vyshyvanka is a loose shirt (typically white or black, though now you can find it in any color) with Ukrainian traditional embroidery on the chest and/or sleeves. Nobody’s really sure when exactly it was born, but the history of this garment goes far into the pre-Christian times. Worth to say Scythians had very similar embroidery traditions, so it’s more than very likely it was first created around the 8th century B.C. Moving closer to our time, vyshyvanka became briefly popular around 30’s of the 20th century, but it wasn’t even remotely as much mainstream as it is now. After the Revolution of Dignity (2014) vyshyvanka has grown up to be one of the most internationally known symbols for freedom fight in Europe. From this perspective I’d say it has a similar way to the world fashion as kilt – you don’t need to be Irish to wear it and it has hundreds of thousands fans around the globe for it’s convenience and authenticity. Same happened to vyshyvanka, because you don’t have to be Ukrainian, speak Ukrainian or even be capable to find it on the map to admit it looks very fresh, authentic and cool. Interested? Well luckily there are at least several brands who do their best to introduce vyshyvanka to the whole wide world, and today I’d like to tell you about one of the most remarkable ones.
The company Etnodim was started in 2009 as a small web-store launched by Andriy Cherukha, who was a student at the National University in the town of Ostroh back then. The store was selling vyshyvankas hand-crafted by some tailors from Ivano-Frankivsk region, but despite the sales slowly growing it wasn’t really what Andriy had in mind. After his graduation he moved to Kiev, gathered a small and enthusiastic team and finally tried to do things on the big figure. I suppose it’s safe to say the turning point for Etnodim was the time when they started to design and manufacture their own products, and it wasn’t only the apparel, but also bedclothing and even footwear. So in just 8 years Etnodim found itself as a real alternative clothing brand with lots of customers (or should I rather call them fans?) and its very own nature. Of course it’s impossible to disclaim the merit of 2014’s Ukrainian revolution that gave both the Ukrainian culture and Etnodim some unexpected but major exposure.
Speaking about Etnodim’s product line I couldn’t conceal the fact it’s all about introducing the traditional Ukrainian legacy to the world of modern urban fashion. And guess what – looks like they belong to each other. The Ukrainian embroidery looks perfectly on everything the brand releases. And as I said it doesn’t look like some ancient grandma’s stuff at all, it’s rather feels overwhelmingly fresh and quirky in the urban environment, quirky in a good way. Another source of Etnodim’s pride is their own footwear line, for both men and women. In this case they didn’t try going too far and just stuck with the shoes the most people use everyday of their lives. Mostly it’s solid and sharp urban footwear that would look appropriate anywhere, including office or a party.
At conclusion I’d like to add Etnodim sells worldwide and that’s very sweet since lots of stores from ex-USSR countries have big problems selling their products abroad. The prices are quite affordable too, especially for hand-made apparel, so if you live in some other part of the planet and still want to get a handcrafted Ukrainian embroidered shirt, a dress or something else you like, it looks like you don’t have to look farther.