Dressing with Purpose
Belonging and Resistance in Scandinavia
Published by: Indiana University Press
Dress helps us fashion identity, history, community, and place. Dress has been harnessed as a metaphor for both progress and stability, the exotic and the utopian, oppression and freedom, belonging and resistance. Dressing with Purpose examines three Scandinavian dress traditions—Swedish folkdräkt, Norwegian bunad, and Sámi gákti—and traces their development during two centuries of social and political change across northern Europe.
By the 20th century, many in Sweden worried about the ravages of industrialization, urbanization, and emigration on traditional ways of life. Norway was gripped in a struggle for national independence. Indigenous Sámi communities—artificially divided by national borders and long resisting colonial control—rose up in protests that demanded political recognition and sparked cultural renewal. Within this context of European nation-building, colonial expansion, and Indigenous activism, traditional dress took on special meaning as folk, national, or ethnic minority costumes—complex categories that deserve reexamination today.
Through lavishly illustrated and richly detailed case studies, Dressing with Purpose introduces readers to individuals who adapt and revitalize dress traditions to articulate who they are, proclaim personal values and group allegiances, strive for sartorial excellence, reflect critically on the past, and ultimately, reshape the societies they live in.
Map of Scandinavia
A Note on Terms and Place Names
Foreword, by Khristaan Villela
Introduction: Can We Talk about Traditional Dress?, by Carrie Hertz
Part One: Folkdräkt in Sweden
1. Swedish Folkdräkt, by Carrie Hertz
2. They Are at Peace Here, Like Old Friends in Their Caskets: Traditional Dress Collections as Heritage-making, by Lizette Gradén
Part Two: Bunad in Norway
1. Norwegian Bunad, by Carrie Hertz
2. Headdress and Hijab: Bunad in Multicultural Norway, by Camilla Rossing
3. The Transnational and Personalized Bunad of the Twenty-First Century, by Laurann Gilbertson
Part Three: Gákti in Sápmi
1. Sámi Gákti, by Carrie Hertz
2. The Legacy of Ládjogahpir: Rematriating Sápmi with Foremother's Hat of Pride, by Eeva-Kristiina Harlin and Outi Pieski
Conclusion: The Future of Traditional Dress, by Carrie Hertz
List of Contributors
Dressing with Purpose is an exciting volume that makes a real contribution to the scholarly literature in this field, incorporating important background and theoretical models of value to any scholar wishing to understand this field well. Yet, non-specialist readers will still find the book approachable and engaging. Its beautiful photographs and lively interviews and descriptions make for a delightful read.~Thomas A. DuBois, University of Wisconsin—Madison, author of Sacred to the Touch: Nordic and Baltic Religious Wood Carving
Dressing with Purpose is a breakthrough book that thoroughly describes the elements of sartorial Scandinavian clothing and situates the whole and the parts of ensembles within their historical, ever evolving roots but also within their current contemporary (and also changing) contexts.~Marsha MacDowell, Michigan State University, author of Quilts and Human Rights