The Origin and Popularity of the Ushanka

UshankaOne of the more common fashion accessories that are associated from Russia is the ushanka fur hat.  The ushanka is made of real or faux fur and its distinctive characteristic is the folding down ear flaps that are held up by a string when the wearer doesn’t want them down.

The hat isn’t originally from Russia, however.  Instead, it was brought to Russia from Scandanavia where the use of a fur hat was popular in many cold climates.  It became popular in Russia when the Soviets adapted it as part of the Russian winter uniform during World War II – part of an effort to equip its troops better against the bitter cold that was taking so many Soviet soldiers’ lives.

Following this, the ushanka became most associated with Russian clothing and it wasn’t until the fall of the Soviet empire that ushankas became available commercially to non-Soviet bloc countries.  Despite the fact that a modification of the ushanka is popular in military uniforms in China, North Korea, and Mongolia, it remains primarily associated with Russian attire.

Published on July 1, 2015.

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