Inuit Clothing Information

Written by damin chu
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Inuit clothing is largely informed by the Inuit people's native environment. Since they live in the cold climate of northern America and Greenland, they traditionally employ furs and use material obtained from the animals found in their natural landscape.

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Fur

Traditionally, fur kept the Inuit people insulated and warm in frigid weather. Most fur items were obtained from caribou, although seals and polar bear pelts were also utilised.

Boots

Boots are customarily made out of caribou or sealskin. The latter material was preferred, since the fabric is durable, warm, and waterproof. Boots are called "kamiks."

Hooded Coat

A hooded coat or parka is a traditional Inuit clothing item, which is filled with goose down to create and maintain warmth and is made from caribou or sealskin. It is referred to as a "atiqik." Parkas made for women contain extra large hoods, so that babies carried on their mother's backs would be shielded from biting winds by the hood.

Layering

A complete set of clothes involves boots, stockings, trousers, and long coats. In the coldest weather, Inuits would layer two of each piece of clothing on top of each other. This keeps the body warm by trapping and preserving a person's natural body heat, and enhancing it with the fur of another animal. For instance, coats would be layered, one on the other, with the bottom coat containing fur that would face inward in contact with the skin. The coat layered on top would be worn with its fur facing outward towards the elements.

Difference between Men and Women

Clothing for men and women are basically similar, but there are some differences in material used. Women traditionally wear skirts from bird skin, trousers made from fox skins, and boots constructed from caribou or sealskin. Seal skin and caribou were also used for gloves, and socks were made from hare skins. The men wear the same basic costume as the women, but have shorter boots, and wear trousers constructed from polar bear pelts.

Decoration

Patterns and ornamentation on Inuit clothing are simple. Most are basic geometric patterns made out of animal fur or skin. Some garments contain fringing. Clothing reserved for special occasions does involve intricate decorations, with designs of stars and hunting scenes made from animal fur and skin or coloured beads.

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