Stories, images, memories
The memories on the beginnings of the unique women-knitters organization from Sirogojno are cherished by the Knitters’ Museum, opened in 2008. At this Museum, authentic recordings of the fashion shows, fashion photographs from the 1970s and 1980s, newspapers articles and letters present a unique story about the clothes, admired by Nancy Regan, Raisa Gorbachev, Liv Ulman, the lady President of Iceland and the British Queen. .
Dobrila Smiljanic and the knitters have been numerously awarded for their contribution to the fashion industry, but also for their contribution to the cultural and economic development of the region. The most important awards are The Golden Peackok from 1972 and two Golden Hind Awards, of Belgrade Fashion Fair, from 1983 and 1984. Although, the most important award is The AMMA Award, of Italian Fashion Designer’s Guild, that was awarded to Dobrila in 1977 for her achievements in European fashion.
Milutin Kojic, Yugoslavian honorary consul in Island, has liaised the very first yarn imports from these vulcanic lands back in 1960s. The production process of Icelandic yarn, from the livestock breeding to the yarn manufacture and dying, is performed in accordance with very high quality standards. These qualities proved very beneficial for the placement of Sirogojno products on foreign markets.
Emancipation of the women-knitters
Organized production of hand-knitted clothing in local households marked a milestone in lives of the women from Zlatibor and a change of their traditional role, which had been limited to the care about the household and children. The skill of knitting enabled them for the first time to earn money, without neglecting their obligations in the household. Following the rise and development of the handmade knitwear numerous fashion shows, concerts, exhibitions, literary evenings were organized in Sirogojno, in presence of the women-knitters, side by side with Dobrila Smiljanic.
Development of the product itself has been followed by a continual work on education of the women-knitters and improvement of the living conditions in the local environment. Visits to Belgrade and other places in Yugoslavia were organized, where the women-knitters took part in promotion of the collections and came out to the catwalk to bow down to the audience. In Sirogojno, they welcomed visitors, statesmen, actors, writers, fashion photographers, painters…
Economy, culture, tourism
Organization of the women-knitters represented a base for development of Sirogojno and the whole region of Zlatibor. Nowadays, Sirogojno is one of the most visited tourist destinations in Serbia. The Old Village Museum which is still the only open-air museum in Serbia, was also established within the organization of the women-knitters. In 1980, with the aim of protecting material and non-material cultural heritage of the Zlatibor region, in a process of transfer, placing and reconstruction of the traditional log houses was started according to a project developed by the architect Ranko Findrik and the Republic Institute for Protection of Cultural Monuments.
The Museum was a part of the women-knitters’ organization from Sirogojno until 1992 when it became an independent institution called The Open Air Museum “Old Village”. Nowadays, this Museum is one the main landmarks of the Zlatibor region which attracts thousands of visitors.
Learn from the best ones
In the premises of the Knitters’ Museum, knitting workshops with the women-knitters are organized for children and adults. Apart from knitting skills the participants receive a souvenir which they have made themselves.
In addition, it is possible to organize fashion shows of Sirogojno Style products as well as degustation of the local products. The Museum is open for individual and group visits, whereas the specific events are planned and realized with previous announcement.