Welsh Fashion 💛 Ffasiwn Cymreig

Welsh Fashion 💛 Ffasiwn Cymreig

August marks the start of the National Eisteddfod - Wales' celebration of language, culture, history, art, and more - so we thought we'd delve into the world of Welsh fashion from the traditional 18th century dress through to modern-day haute couture 🏰

Traditional Welsh Dress

Gwisg Gymraeg draddiadol was worn by Welsh women in rural areas worn during the 18th and 19th centuries, and consisted of a number of componenets:

Betgwn (bedgown) 
Worn over a petticoat, the bedgown (also known as shortgown or bedjacket) was a thigh-length garment worn on the upper body, topped with an apron

Design varied depending on which part of Wales the wearer lived

Pais (skirt & underskirt) 
Made with heavy flannel to protect the rural women against the rugged Welsh landscape (and weather), the design consisted of vertical stripes with the occasional design featuring horizontal lines

There were a surprising amount of different types of shawl worn in Wales - turnovers, square shawls, Paisley shawls, Nursing shawls, and a whittle shawl. Each would have a different purpose and design, for example the nursing shawl would be used to nurse a baby, and the Paisley shawl would be worn most likely on special occasions as they were an expensive item to own

Worn over the betgwn, the aprons were in natural colours ranging from cream to black, and featured a chequered pattern

These were knitted (and a lot sold for export!) - I dread to think about how itchy those legs were, especially after a wet Welsh winter

A square piece of fabric either worn around the neck tucked into the top of the gown, or worn over the head like a headscarf

No, not the iconic hats - these were a linen or cotton head covering worn under the hat

The Welsh Hat
Perhaps the most iconic and recognisable part of the traditional dress, these long hats were made of either felt or silk, on a stiffened buckram base

Can you imagine having to go through all that effort just to get dressed every day 😩

source: wikipedia

Traditional dress for men during this time didn't differ much from what was worn in England at the same time, so there isn't much information about it in Wales. They would have likely worn a bright waistcoat, a blue or grey wool jacket, neckerchief, breeches, woollen stockings, and a black felt bowler-style hat.

Welsh Fashion Designers

Laura Ashley
Iconic designer and co-founder of Laura Ashley - one of the headscarves designed was worn by Audrey Hepburn in the film Roman Holiday. Much of Ashley's clothing is still highly sought after 🧣

Jeff Banks
Clothing, jewellery and homeware designer who founded the clothing chain Warehouse, and created and presented the long-running TV show The Clothes Show 📺

David Emmanuel
Designed the dress that was "suitably dramatic in order to make an impression" - Lady Diana Spencer's iconic ivory silk taffeta and antique lace wedding gown 👰

Mary Quant
Creator of the *iconic* miniskirt - OK, she was born in London, but her parents were Welsh so we'll claim it 😏

Wales-inspired Fashion

No, we're not talking daffodil hats and blow-up sheep 🙄 

Fasiwn Uchael 💅 Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen

Did they/Didn't they? 🤔 Christian Dior deny inspiration from Welsh traditional dress. What do you think?

2014 London Fashion Week saw Kingston University's MA Fashion inspired by Welsh dress 😎

You'll see a lot of traditional Welsh dress worn by kids on St David's day, accompanied by flat caps (also known as Dai caps), daffs and leeks. Keep a look out for them on March 1st 💛

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