I recently discovered the Urban Style blog, full of photos of what cool young things from BucureÈ™ti are wearing. Not as much colour as I would wear, despite a few winter coats and tights on the brighter side of the palette, yet, I grew up knowing that Romanians have fashion sense (even the men – I don’t care what you say, MaikoPunk). Canadians in your ugly fleece, goretex and soccer mom Lululemon ensembles, look over this blog, then burn your wardrobe.
Fashionable as they are, however, young Romanians just wear western clothes. Someone could drop off a dozen Romanian teenagers in any North American neighbourhood and, aside from the better combinations and colour choices, you’d think they were just regular Anglo-Saxon kids.
Yet amid all the fashion that could be anywhere, there’s this super original dude:
Let’s see: he’s got his traistÄƒ (Romanian woollen bag), his black cÄƒciulÄƒ on his head, a vest, and his traditional straight shirt (with what looks like a belt).
Dressed in the most Romanian of Romanian peasant wear, all that’s missing are the opinci.
From the footwear page on the Eliznik Balkan Folklore site:
Opinci are made of a single rectangle of cow, ox or pig hide gathered round the foot in various ways. Two main types are found in Romania but with numerous zonal variations…..Opinci were tied to the feet using one or more nojitÄƒ (narrow strips of leather or strings made of goats or horsetail hair which is usually died black although white is used in Moldavia)…..Many 18th and 19th century pictures show Romanian peasants wearing opinci, though by the 20th century this form of footwear had become less common. F B Florescu, in her book on Romanian opinci said that this form of footwear had completely disappeared by 1957 (Florecu 1957).
As the next photo attests, we can exhibit our Romanian-ness by wearing our opinci:
The poster reads “Remain Romanian in Europe [i.e. the European Union].” It’s a political poster for the Partidul NaÈ›ional ÈšÄƒrÄƒnesc CreÈ™tin Democrat (the PNÈšCD, or the National Peasant Party-Christian Democrat). The Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada’s Romania Country Fact Sheet has this to say about the party:
The PNÈšCD is a successor to the National Peasant Party which was founded in 1869. It was banned under the Communist regime in 1947, but remerged in 1989, at which time it refused to work with the National Salvation Front (FSN) due to the FSN’s high concentration of former communists. The PNÈšCD has undergone numerous splits and mergers. Following poor results in the 2004 election, the PNÈšCD merged with the Union for Romanian Revival (Uniunea pentru RenaÈ™terea RomÃ¢niei, URR) and formed the Christian Democrat People’s Party (Partidul Popular CreÈ™tin Democrat, PPCD) which promotes a centrist platform. The party’s leader is Marian Petre MiluÈ›.
But back to the Urban Style dude: he is one cool kid. More Romanian young people should emulate his example and stop being so ashamed of being Romanian. If someone sees this dude on some BucureÈ™ti street, give him a pat on the back from me.
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