In this exhibition you will see costumes and accessories from Åmli through 200 years, from the oldest preserved folk costumes to national costumes and dress fashion.
The folk costumes were what people wore every day, from work to holidays. They changed slowly, and were shaped by local tradition in interaction with economy, trade and fashions. Sørlandet (Agder) had close relationships with Europe, and sailors brought home silk kerchiefs, silver bands, brocade, damask and Flemish and English broadcloth. This is mirrored in the folk costumes. Stylistic we find traits dating back to the renaissance in the 14th century.
Towards the end of the 19th century machine sewn fashion dresses gradually took over for local costumes. At the same time an increasing interest in the Norwegian grew. Hulda Garborg created the Norwegian national costumes, inspired by folk costumes. Klara Semb took over the work of reconstructing local costume custom, and was in Sørlandet early in the 1920’s.
The first Åmli costumes were sewn on local initiative in 1925 and were finished before the opening of Elvarheim community hall. Aust Agder Youth Club started a systematic work to create a national costume for our district in the 1940’s. Husfliden (The Handicrafts) in Arendal took over the production in the 1950’s. The costumes had their base in older conserved folk costumes from Åmli, Gjøvdal, Tovdal and Mykland. These districts constituted the former Åmli parish. That is why the costume is called Åmlibunad.
We are glad to be able to show some of the rich diversity of costumes in Åmli in this exhibition.