Legend of the vyshyvanka (traditional Ukrainian embroidered shirt)
May 30, 2015
Recorded by I.M. Rozvadovsky (born 1918) in Terebovlia in 1978
There was a time when people began falling to the ground and dying one by one. No one knew what caused this disease. A man walks along the road and suddenly falls, his skin turns black and he expires.
People left their villages and fled to the forest. But, the disease pursued them. It spared neither young nor old. The time came when there was no one left to bury the dead …
A poor widow named Mariya lived in a village on the banks of the Dnister River. The plague had carried off her husband and five children. Only the youngest daughter, Ivanka was still alive. Mariya stood watch over her daughter, protecting her as her most valuable treasure.
But, the disease entered their home. Ivanka began to pale and wither; she refused food, only drank water and wasted away before her mother’s eyes. She pleaded with her mother:
– Save me, Mom, I do not want to die!
Her sad and forlorn eyes followed her mother around the room.
One evening, an old lady stopped by their house.
Mariya did not see or hear her come in.
– Glory to God! Good day!
– Glory to God!
– What’s this? Is your last child dying?
– Yes, would that she could live!
Mariya rushed towards the old lady:
– Dearest grandmother, I pray God to deliver us, save my last child. I do not want to be left alone in my old age!
The old lady took her pleas to heart and said:
– I will tell you the secret of this terrible disease. But swear not to tell anyone. Swear on your child.
– I swear … on my daughter!
– Our Lord has sent the Black Death upon us. The number of sinners had grown. God ordered that all persons not wearing a cross should perish. The devils laughed and danced and continued killing everyone who did not wear a cross. They cared nothing about men’s souls. And so, the righteous died alongside the wicked and evil… You have mourned the dead in your family. I will give you some advice … Embroider crosses on sleeves, on the bosom, everywhere. Use black or red colours so that the devils can see them from afar … But, tell no one, otherwise you will see your daughter perish before your very eyes…
It took Mariya little more than an hour to embroider her daughter’s blouse in red and black. The crosses and cross-stitched designs shone and blazed in the sunlight. She embroidered another blouse for herself. Ivanka’s health improved day by day. She asked her mother:
– Please, Mom, add an embroidered wreath of blackthorn … and a branch of kalyna (guilder rose)…
The villagers wondered at Ivanka’s striking embroidered blouse and speculated that she was probably going to retire to the forest and live alon. The crosses were meant for God’s blessings.
Ivanka’s health improved; she started skipping and laughing and singing. However, her mother’s heart broke whenever she saw the dead being taken to the cemetery.
One day, Ivanka burst into the house, her face streaming with tears. She grabbed her mother’s arm and pulled her to the neighbour’s yard. A coffin bearing Ivanka’s friends, two young twins, was being carried out of the house.
Mariya grew thinner and thinner; she became a shadow of herself. She caressed and kissed her daughter day and night, while dark storm clouds swirled about in her head:
– Oh dear God! You are my only hope!
… But the children continued dying…
– Lord! I will not survive all these deaths!
She could not bear it anymore. She ran, disheveled and terrified, from house to house:
– Embroider crosses, my dear friends… embroider your shirts and clothing with crosses … and you will live! Save yourselves!
The villagers locked themselves in their homes. They thought that death had come for Mariya. No one believed her.
Maria ran home, took Ivanka in her arms and hurried to the village church. She rang the church bells and the villagers came running.
Mariya kissed her daughter and spoke to the crowd:
– So, you don’t believe me! You think I’m a fool! Well, so be it… I hurt and cry for your children! – She turned and tore the embroidered blouse off Ivanka’s back.
The child’s skin turned black, she slid to the ground and died.
– Murderers! Now, go home and embroider the clothing for your children and yourselves! – She said and fell dead at her daughter’s feet..
From that day on, the plague disappeared beyond the forests and seas. People began sewing and embroidering. Later, there was no more need for embroidered crosses. Mothers taught their daughters, and the daughters of their daughters, and every home was graced with an embroidered shirt, apron or blouse.
Such beautiful clothes are worn to this very day.
But, very few people know the origin of this beauty…
International Children's Day
May 30, 2015
Congratulations with the end of school year and International Children's Day!
The World Conference for the Well-being of Children in Geneva, Switzerland, proclaimed June 1 to be International Children's Day in 1925. 'The welfare of today's children is inseparably linked with the peace of tomorrow's world'. Henri Labouisse.
A special offer from Ukie Style - 25% off all kids items till June 2, 2015. Use a discount code "kids" at checkout.
New shipping rates!
May 14, 2015
Happy to announce updated shipping rates:
Canada: $14 for orders of $30 and up (first class mail);
All Europe: $10 for orders of $30 and up;
Ukraine over $20: FREE;
The rest of the world over $150: FREE
The sudden rise and appreciation of Ukrainian traditional clothing
May 02, 2015
Ukraine has been in the forefront of international thought a lot recently (and not for particularly pleasant reasons), but its reach has extended far beyond the front page—whether you were aware or not, the Ukrainian influence has fully arrived in our closets. Think that groovy boho embroidered peasant blouse was nationless? Think again. Whether it’s festival girl du jour Alexa Chung, wearing an embroidered peasant shirt hailing from the Eastern European region with a pair of denim cut-offs, or the Slavic red patterns on the runway at Valentino spring 2015 couture (complete with models sporting traditional braid crowns), Ukrainian traditional costume has knowingly and unknowingly permeated fashion for years, and now the spotlight on the country’s aesthetic is in full swing once again. Only this time, it’s hailing from the motherland.
The sudden rise and appreciation of Ukrainian traditional dress on an international level can be credited to Vita Kin, the designer of the eponymous Vita Kin, who uses the name for the traditional Ukrainian blouse, a vyshyvanka, in her label’s Instagram handle. Recently, the designer has become an international sensation, with local fashion fixtures like Asya Mkhitaryan wearing the designer’s version of a zhupan (a traditional Ukrainian jacket) to Paris Fashion Week, while street style stars like Anna Dello Russo and Leandra Medine are taking the bucolic style from the countryside onto Western asphalt. “Ukrainians have a unique method of decorating clothing with embroidery, and that’s always impressed me,” says Kin about her designs via email. “I adapted this ancient heritage into a modern context, adding a seventies vibe, when clothing was more relaxed and friendly. It’s a bohemian eccentricity in a very luxe execution.” That execution is her distinctly modern translations of the straight-from-the-village vyshyvanka in shades of marmalade with crude scenes of birds and flowers in a thigh-skimming sky blue dress, or in a full length frock replete with Gzhel style embroidery soon to be sold on an international platform (courtesy of Matchesfashion) and in Kiev-based concept stores. For a bit of context, a few years ago the idea of a Ukrainian citizen wearing traditional costume on the street was considered costume at best, a dowdy faux pas at worst. Flash forward to this month, where due to the quick rise of requests, Kin is overwhelmed with interest, and can no longer accommodate individual orders or samples for shoots.
The recent frenzy over Kin’s designs aside, it’s worth considering whether the rise of Ukrainian traditional costume in fashion is more than just au courant street-style bait. Historically, Ukrainians have attempted to separate themselves from the perception of their country as only “Little Russia,” especially now, when the political state is one of unrest (from the demonstrations in Maidan square to Russia’s invasion of Crimea). There is a school of thought that the recent use of Ukrainian dress isn’t just a fashion statement, it’s a unifying statement. “I think that all type of vyshyvankas are extremely beautiful and I am proud to see people wearing them, but to me fashion in the sense of culture is not about obvious references,” says Mercedes-Benz Kiev Fashion Days creative director Daria Shapovalova, “I think [traditional dress] is connected to the fact that Ukraine is experiencing this moment in politics.”
As for those “not so obvious” interpretations of Ukrainian natural dress, they exist in the avant-garde frontier of Ukrainian fashion. There is Karavay (a label beloved by Ukrainian editors) who keeps their clothing classic, dotting the arms and bust of a black diaphanous gown with delicate Slavic-style embroidery of flowers, or translates the traditional pattern onto a tight, curve-skimming zip-up dress. There are also the more abstract interpretations, like those from Ukrainian designer Ksenia Marchenko of Ksenia Schnaider, who pixelates and enlarges traditional Slavic patterns, sometimes while still utilizing typical curve-emphasizing Ukrainian silhouettes. “Being inspired by Ukrainian traditions is huge trend now here. Our prints from spring 2015 and fall 2016 were our answer to the situation in Ukraine, revolution and war,” says Marchenko. “When designing prints for our collections, [design partner] Anton Schnaider was thinking about the perception of Ukraine in global minds. The idea of uncertainty of all things Ukrainian is transferred through the use of blurred traditional Ukrainian ornaments.” But one thing that is decidedly still in focus, at least when it comes to Ukrainian fashion? Traditional roots are here to stay, whether it is in Kiev—or Paris.
Valentino collection spring - summer 2015
May 02, 2015
Did you know my post on Facebook about Valentino collection with a lot of Ukrainian designs reached 1519 shares?!
Sorry, and thank you!
January 06, 2015
Dear friends, customers, and followers,
Sorry for current low inventory. We are working on improving the logistics.
Lots of new items will be available by the beginning of March'15.
Would you like to have free shipping in the US as a big Thank you for your patience??