Local culture:

The Long Term Outlook of Romanian Traditional Clothing

August 01, 2014  |  By Nozomi Niki Kondo, Japan

Local culture:

Photo : Wiki Commons

Romanian Traditional Clothing is a historic, culturally immersed, and diverse part of Romanian culture. The style of clothing varies in terms of season, gender, and geographical location. As the nation continues to develop economically and technologically, and has recently even proposed to join the European Union, it seems clear that a time of change has come upon the nation. In such a time of transition, it becomes important to firstly examine the history concerning this tradition, and to inquire what sort of prospects the future of Romanian clohing holds. 

Romanian clothing differs between males and females. The males wear trousers (Itari/Ciaorec), sandals (Opincl), and coats (Suman). The pants are made of wool in winter, and cotton in summer, and this makes sure that Romanian citizens are appropriately dressed according to the season. In addition, the clothes are decorated with patterns, and these patterns as well as the location in which they are found on the clothing differ according to region. The more embroidery found on an item of clothing, the more expensive it is. One cultural difference is that the trousers can be worn over boots or tucked into them, also depending on geographical location.  For females, the clothes consist of a shirt (Le), a skirt (Fota), and a head scarf (Marama).

Unfortunately, it seems that this great custom has ceased to be the fashion. Currently, it is thought that traditional clothing is dying out and is decreasing in popularity. One interviewee, Alexandra, mentioned that it is rare for citizens to own a full set of traditional clothes. Personally, she only owns a shirt, and she thinks that this is because the clothing is expensive and cannot be easily found, for they tend to be handmade by elderly people. She says that this, combined with modernization and the urban movement has made traditional clothing less attractive to the Romanian people. Another interviewee, Ratzan said that he owned no clothing items. They both agreed that nobody in Romania wears such clothing except during special events such as cultural festivals, and on Sundays in remote areas of the country.   

As for preserving the long lasting tradition of ethnic clothing, Ratzan states that every county has a center with the goal to protect cultural factors, including clothing. In addition, according to Alexandra, there is a special day in Romania where woman wear the traditional shirt, le. This event is popular and is a way to preserve at least part of the national costume. In addition, in media, there seems to be some coverage, for there is a television program focusing on traditional aspects of Romania, such as dance or clothing. Finally, foreign interest in the clothing has helped, for tourists buy parts of the costume and this helps the craftsman survive by providing a source of income. 

Conclusively, it can be thought that traditional Romanian clothing is struggling to survive in a nation full of citizens mostly wishing to put distance between themselves and the past. Although many attempts have been made, and these efforts have proven to be worth the time inputted into them, it is still unknown whether the craftsman would be able to survive into the future. It seems that foreign interest in the clothing, or a revival of national interest in the clothing is necessary to guarantee that such a beautiful and original factor of Romanian clothing survives in modern times. 

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