A uniform costume intended for the nobility and the bourgeois (approximately 5% of the Swedish population), made of plain Swedish material.
Title: National costume, for men
Date Created: 1778/1785
Physical Dimensions: h69 cm
More Information: To counter the aristocracy's taste for luxury and support Swedish textile manufacturing, this national costume was introduced by King Gustav III in 1778. The imbalance in Sweden's international trade was blamed on the import of foreign luxury cloth. To support Swedish manufacturing, an import ban was introduced. The court decided to set a good example and a national costume was introduced for both men and women.
The nobleman is wearing the national costume for men consisting of jacket, breeches and cloak in Swedish-made silk and velvet, cut simply compared with the fashions of the day. The black and red variant was everyday wear at court.
This example was worn by Governor Count Samuel af Ugglas (1750-1812) in Stockholm between 1775 and 1785.
Excess and luxury were banned and regulated in numerous state rules, excess regulations, during the eighteenth century. Foreign expertise assisted in the foundation of the early Swedish textile manufacturing industry, with spinning mills, dye works, weaving mills and calico printers. Despite the ambition to achieve international standards, production never met expectations. Fashion clothing was also made from smuggled, prohibited materials. The national dress for men was a major departure from the French style which had hitherto prevailed, and in the eyes of many was quite simply archaic. In addition, clothes as a marker of identity were also considered to be in danger. National dress was not liked by everyone. But the men's costume was used more widely within government offices, as it was obligatory. The national costume for women was worn very little outside the court.
The costume is part of the permanent exhibition Power of Fashion, 300 years of clothing. The exhibition depicts the history of clothing and fashion over several centuries – and provides a perspective on the driving forces that determine an individual's manner of dress, seen from the perspective of different social groups. Nordiska museet owns a unique costume collection, with garments from the 1600s to the present day.