The Russian hat, officially known as Ushanka, or simply 'ear-flap hat', is a common item bought by tourists and is often associated with Russia. But how did it come to be?
Naturally, the hats are designed for the cold weather, and hence they are perfectly suited to life in Russia. But historians believe that the hat first came to Russia when they were involved in conflicts with the Finnish army. So, perhaps it is the Finns who deserve credit for the hat!
In the early 1900s, the hat became popular with young people, particularly in St Petersburg. It was popular with rebellious youngsters (including criminals), and later became official uniform for the Russian armed forces.
Throughout the 20th Century, the Ushanka became more of a fashion item, and was worn by those who wanted to show they were a little bit different. It also became a popular item for children due to the warm ear pieces keeping them warm in winter.Nowadays, the hat is still popular as a souvenir as well as a fashion accessory. You'll find them everywhere in Russia and Ukraine at small markets all the way up to high-end boutiques.