Have you ever thought, that functional and warm Ushanka hat would expand to a state of being cultural, fashion trend? Now, on a fashion runways, we notice more this type of headgear and designer aren’t afraid to experiment with it.

Photo Credit: BLACK EYED SUZY via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: BLACK EYED SUZY via Compfight cc

Modern ushanka hat was first widely developed in Russia during 20th century, but this type of headgear has its deep roots. It traces back as far as ancient Scythians, who dominated Eurasia Steppes during 7th BCE- 4th CE.  So the warmth of this hat was without exception functional.  During the years it became more fashionable than functional. It still keeps your head warm, but choosing this hat as a detail of your outfit, says something more about your personality.  But before fashion let’s talk about some cultural, political phenomenon of Ushanka.

Warm uniforms and propaganda

Ushanka hat was customized specifically for coldest regions in the world, including artic region in Russia. In those cold weather conditions this type of headgear keeps wearers’ ears and chin safe and warm eve under deep frost.  Besides that, Ushanka hats were a part of winter uniform for police, military, and naval forces, post office employees, and other government positions.

Countries like US, Canada, Finland, Germany and majority of Eastern European and Asian militaries use these hats. In spite of its warmth, Ushankas have some negative connotations. As a global cultural icon it was featured in 1963 as a Chinese propaganda campaign. They depicted Lei Feng, a 21 year old soldier who had died the year prior. He was depicted in an Ushanka and a uniform as modest and selfless citizen of communist country. It also became some kind of symbol of a cold war, conflict between Soviet Union and US. A famous image was captured of Leonid Brezhnev and General Ford wearing an ushanka in a jovial mood. This was a sign of hope, but still not the end of a cold war.

Newfound popularity of Ushankas

After the collapse of the iron curtain, Russian ushanka hat became the most exported item to US. Today these hats are commonly worn by celebrities, models, and actors. So famous personalities makes this type of headgear even more fashionable. Also some variations of the ushanka were featured in this year’s NY’s Fall Fashion Week. So it’s not just warm, but fashionable to wear ushanka when the weather gets cold.

Photo Credit: nupi.skate via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: nupi.skate via Compfight cc