Top three ethnic skirts

There are varieties of beautiful skirts of different design in ethnic world. Today I want to show you three of my favourite ones from different parts of the world. 1. The skirt of a thousand pleats. This skirt is a part of traditional costume of Flower Hmong women living in Vietnam. It is said that the skirt was inspired by an open latania leaf. For pleating the fabric of approximately 5 m wide and 70 cm long is used. The skirt is made up of three rows. The first is in plain indigo hemp fabric; the second is also hemp decorated with batik patterns. Then comes a band decorated with appliques in traditional designs - roses, apple blossom, peonies or cranes. Though the skirt is known as "the skirt of a thousand pleats", the real number of pleats is two hundred or so. Pleating is done by hand, a mixture of water and rice starch is poured over it and then left for a month. After that the top of the pleats are secured by stitching.

Flower hmong people pleated skirts
photo courtesy  Brian Snelson

Flower Hmong woman wearing pleated skirt
photo courtesy Brian Snilson

2. The ghagra skirt. This is a traditional skirt of Rajasthani women of India. Its distinctive feature is its fullness and circle design wich creates dramatic flare around the ankles. Such a skirt requires much fabric, more than 6 metres actually. It fits closely at the waist and widens out to form a bell shape 9 metres in circumference. The effect is achieved by using trapezoid-shaped panels, the amount of such panels may be different, sometimes as many as 36, and it indicates the wearer's social status and wealth. The colour and style of wearing the ghagra skirt are also a clue to the woman't identity. Ghagra has traditionally been an all-purpose garment, with variations suitable for any occasion from working in the fields to attending a wedding. The festive variant of the skirt is usually adorned with mirror work, embroidery,bells or applique.

Ghagra skirt
photo source

Indian performer in a ghagra skirt
photo source

3. The corte, a skirt of Mayan women of Guatemala. This skirt is a simple tube made up of a single or several woven panels fixed together with a band of embroidery. The skirt can be between 2 and 5 metres wide. A woman steps into this tube-skirt, pulls it around her and the excess material is gathered into one or two pleats and held in place by a woven belt. The embroidery motif of the band and the length of the corte varies from village to village and identifies the wearer's place of origin. Sometimes tie-dyed strands are woven into the pattern, sometimes there are rows of flowers or animal designs going through the length of the fabric. Generally corte fabric is rather thick and can last for many years. The belts that are worn with corte skirts (fajas) are 2-3 metres long and hand-woven too. Sometimes they are narrow and simple in design, and sometimes they are very wide and elaborately decorated with intricate embroidery and with tassels on the ends.

Mayan woman of Guatemala wearing traditional skirt photo source

Mayan woman from Guatemala in traditional skirtphoto source

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  1. Never heard about these skirts before. My favorite is #1 -- I like the pleats and the fabric is very beautiful. Thank you for the post! Have a nice week and stay cool :)

  2. It blows my mind how much work, skills, fabric, care and love go into traditional festive clothing! You'd think with all our modern day technology we would have amazing pieces to wear for every day! And yet, contemporary clothing is very often simplistic and even boring. Very interesting post, as always, Olga! xxx

  3. I agree with Natalia, its just mind blowing how much work & skill go into these costumes. Why on earth do people want shoddily made, mass produced stuff when clothes like this are available? x

  4. Great information! Thanks. I read all your post, very interesting!

  5. so beautiful! thank you for always sharing these cultural treasures!

  6. The skirt of the 1000 pleats is difficult to imagine. There is so much detail! I would love to see this costume in person. It is incredibly beautiful.

  7. Looks great! Very nice blog you have!

  8. These bright colors, wanderful patterns and beautiful embroideries are a feast for the eyes!
    Wonderful pictures, dear Olga!
    Sabine xxx

  9. Interesting to see the more plainly dressed person in the second picture next to the colourful one. And the baby! Lovely work Olga :-)