New Life For Romanian Fashion Traditions
Keeping folk traditions alive in modern times can be a challenge. But in Romania two seamstresses have put their soul into intricate traditional designs. With patterns inspired by nature, the appeal of these designs are still valued by younger generations - and sometimes the fashion world
Blooming fields and forests come alive on bags, belts, pillows, and clothing. Romanian village seamstresses patiently embroider colorful patterns onto pieces of fabric.
Mother and daughter-in-law, Ana and Cornelia Bodescu use ancient sewing and beading techniques to keep the art of traditional clothmaking alive.
“I was raised in a family where everyone was sewing. My mother used to sew, she used different techniques to decorate the costumes. My grandfather was a craftsman that used sheepskin to create winter coats,” Cornelia Bodescu said.
Vivid pictures of wildflowers and animals using colorful, tiny beads revive patterns created by Romanian peasants of northern Romania centuries ago.
“So he (the peasant) put all the animal patterns, the mountain dear, the bear that he encountered when he went into the mountains, all of them on his clothes. That was his inspiration. He was surrounded by nature, birds, both domestic and wild animals,” Ana Bodescu said.
Similar folk designs have traveled far from the tiny village of Salva in Romania’s Transylvania region where Ana and Cornelia come from. They have featured on big brand catwalks.
In 2017, fashion house Dior was accused of copying a traditional design. An embroidered folk coat which looked strikingly similar to a waistcoat produced in the region for centuries appeared on a Paris catwalk.
But what matters most for Ana and Cornelia Bodescu is that their work is gaining popularity among the young generation in Romania as more and more young people decide to wear traditional outfits at weddings and big occasions.
“I think that our costumes are more valuable to be worn at the religious ceremony than the other dresses done by designers who get inspiration from our traditions and our traditional costumes,” Cornelia Bodescu said.
“If this tradition has lived on for so many generations, it would be shameful for our family to abandon it. May God help us attract people to this tradition and
teach it to as many people as possible, families, kids anyone that wants to learn,” Ana Bodescu said.
If the heritage gets past on, it is a tribute to artisans whose work keeps the folk traditions alive.