Will Czech men take to wearing skirts?
It is not unusual to see men wearing Scottish kilts on the streets of Prague and other Czech cities during the summer, but Czech men might soon rival the tourists in showing a bit of leg. Ondřej Ludín, artistic tailor at the Technical University of Liberec is now designing and producing skirts for men.
Czech textile and fashion design is centred in the city of Liberec, to be precise at the Faculty of Textiles at the University of Liberec, where Ondřej Ludín works as a lecturer at the clothing design department. Some time ago, he decided to break some Czech taboos and design a few avant-garde skirts for men.
“Skirts for men date back to ancient times and in the Czech lands, skirts and wrap-around garments for men were part of the Slavic day wear. Today we see men in kilts, and so I wanted to try and experiment a bit with skirts, to see how I would feel in one. To my surprise, I found them incredibly comfortable and practical. When I wore one in the back yard to chop wood for the winter, I was impressed by the range of movement it afforded. Compared to trousers, it's unlimited. "
Ondřej says that in designing skirts for men it is important to work with natural materials.
"I go for pure wool or a mixture of wool and some other natural material. Natural materials are suitable both in hot and cold weather. A lot of people say they can't wear wool because it is itchy, but it's all about the workmanship. You can have wool material that is as soft as cotton.
“I have a few spunky clients who I design skirts for. I’m not saying there are a lot of them, but I have a few. I design skirts depending on the occasion and the client’s needs. Sometimes I am inspired by pleated Scottish kilts, but other times I go for a more modern look. Nowadays there are many designers who experiment with the idea, for instance Japanese designers are very creative in this respect.”
In 2022 Czech film director Štěpán Vodrážka collected his Karlovy Vary award for PSH Never-ending Story sporting a tuxedo and a black skirt to match.
Another pioneer of this fashion trend is 35-year-old Czech IT specialist Tomáš Zahálka from Pardubice. He persuaded his sister to make him a skirt one hot summer and has never looked back. He wears skirts that are light, comfortable and don’t crease. He even climbed Mount Snežka in a skirt several years back, making news headlines. The bonus, he says, is a lot of attention from young women. They smile and say “nice skirt ” or “Are you going commando?” Tomas laughs. He says there’s nothing unusual about a man donning a skirt. “A century ago women raised eyebrows when they donned trousers. It just takes a bit of self confidence,” he says.