Ukrainian vyshyvanka shirts in Soviet Pamir (Tajikistan)
The object I have chosen to share with you is known in Tajikistan as a ‘Ukrainian shirt’. In Ukraine and Belarus it’s a vyshyvanka. Although embroidered folk-style shirts were worn in the Soviet republics from the very beginning of Soviet rule, the popularity of long-sleeved shirts made from silk, linen or rayon, with embroidered geometric designs on the front and round the collar and cuffs, reached its peak between the mid 1950s and mid 1960s. This period coincided with Nikita Khrushchev becoming First Secretary of the Communist Party of the USSR.
The Soviet ruling elite always attached great importance to their attire and Khrushchev was no exception. He favoured simple suits in light fabric, worn with a shirt embroidered in the Ukrainian style and no tie. He often appeared in public dressed like this and all the leaders, including those in the Muslim republics, had these shirts hanging in their wardrobes. In fact, vyshyvanka shirts became part of workwear for party apparatchiks during this period. Following their leaders, the wider public, children too, soon copied the new fashion.Continue reading