Category: Historical fashion

“Bunad” comes of the Old Norwegian word “bunadr” meaning “clothing”.

© Text and photo by Laila Durán.

Many visitors to Norway believes that the famous bunads are a very old type of garment. Well, the word bunad is, but the festive costumes more than 60% of all norwegians have in their wardrobe today is, historically speaking, a rather new phenomenon. Like in most countries, norwegians wore folk costumes until the industrial revolution put an end to small scale production and people on the country side became strongly infuenced by the continental fashion in the cities.

All over Scandinavia, this occured during the second half of the 19th century, and slowly the use of folk costumes faded. Still, some areas with a very strong tradition, used their costumes until the end of the century when a new movement started to look for preservation of what was considered to be “genuine norwegian”. This is when the bunad was created.

Below, to the right, is a photo of the embroidered velvet bonnet from beginning of the 18th century used to design the embroidery on the first Valdres bunad. In the new book Broderte Bunader you will find photos of many originals that inspired the new era of festive costumes: the embroidered bunads.

The Old Norwegian language is the language Norwegians spoke in the Viking Age, and the word “bunad” derives from “bunadr” which simply means “clothing”.

The book “Broderte Bunader” is made in cooperation with Norsk Folkemuseum.

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