Katarina Nina Simončič: Tie - national or cultural identity, 2021

Shop Kravata, owner Josip Dubravica, Radićeva ulica, Zagreb, 2021. (author of the photo t.v.)

Tie - national or cultural identity

Katarina Nina Simončič


The process of Croatia's independence leads to a research momentum of national identity symbols, their contextualization and intensive promotion. In this process of valorization, the key role of the national promoter of a distinct historical and cultural charge belonged to the tie.

However, expert analyzes of its historical and contemporary significance in the context of its contribution to world heritage begin at the very beginning of independent Croatia. Thus, in the women's magazine Svijet, edited by Davorka Vukov-Colić and fashion editors Magda Weltrusky and Ante Tonči Vladislavić, in 1990 we find an extensive thematic article dedicated to a tie. The editorial itself states that "regardless of theoretical debates about the origin, the tie is still inevitable in fashion" (Svijet 1990, no. 22:30). While Mirna Cvitan, Mirko Petrić, Ante Tonči Vladislavić are the authors of historical-theoretical and contemporary reviews of the role and application of the tie. The contribution of the author Cvitan is especially important. it is a mark of personality. It has always clearly revealed the personality of the man who wears it ”(Cvitan 1990, no. 22:36).


Photograph of a man, Zagreb, April 8, 1945, photographer: unknown (private archive t.v.)


From her dominant role as a symbol of civic culture and an indispensable fashion accessory of men's business clothing composition, her new value identity during the transition period is interesting. Namely, after the Homeland War, the theme of the tie as a symbol of national heritage, gained a significant place in public discourse, but unfortunately a small number of scientific papers devoted to this topic (Huzjan 2008, Čapo Žmegač 2009, Simončič 2019). For this reason, there is a need for systematic research of all representational forms of this fashion accessory, with the inevitable analysis of the symbolic values of the use of the tie, especially in the political context.

In the period of transition, domestic textile production was marked by privatization and accelerated disappearance, which was reflected in the gradual cessation of tie production. For example, the VIS Varaždin factory, which specializes in the production of neckties, changed its product range to umbrellas and parasols, while the Slovenian Svilanit from Kamnik, known for its neckties, kept only the production of towels. But that is why its production has been preserved by small craftsmen in Zagreb, located in Radićeva Street with a focus on buyers of higher purchasing power - tourists.


Along with small craftsmen, we also record attempts to produce a tie as a cultural capital of great symbolic value, for example in the company Potomac d.d. , founded in 1990 by Franjo Bušić. In the description of its program, the company states the production of clothing and clothing accessories.1 Given that the company Potomac d.d. "Is the main representative of the Croatian fashion brand"2 to assume that the clothing accessories in the company's program are mostly related to ties. In addition to the information on the Croata fashion brand website, the non-profit association Academia Cravatica, which was founded in 1997.3 by Marijan Bušić,4 is also mentioned.

Hrvoje Bušić, stručni  savjetnik Academie Cravatice i dozapovjednik Počasne satnije Kravat pukovnije navodi da je poslanje te neprofitne organizacije da istražuje povijest kravate te promovira njene simboličke vrijednosti. Ujedno predstavlja kravatu kao identitetsku oznaku naše zemlje na tragu slogana: „Hrvatska – Domovina kravate, Zagreb – Prijestolnica kravate“. Autor slogana je Marijan Bušić.5

In its program, Academia Cravatica mentions the care of the necktie as a Croatian symbol, and following the strategy for the global promotion of this product, they have established the Day of the necktie, which has been celebrated on October 18 since 2003. For example, on that day, an author's installation by Marijan Bušić Tie around the Arena was performed in Pula, while similar public "choreographed" presentations are planned to continue to be nurtured in the coming years. On October 17, 2008, the Croatian Parliament paid a special tribute to the necktie, declaring the Day of the Necktie as a day of permanent celebration of the necktie. The performative rituals of the Academie Cravatica and the celebration ceremonies of the cravat will be gradually structured, changed and supplemented. Certainly the most visible is the permanent ritual of celebrating the cravat in Zagreb every Saturday, performed by the Honorary Company of the Cravat Regiment, while the Museum of the Necktie is founded by Mihovil-Bogoslav Matković,6 a direction that indicates the expansion of content.

In the contextualization of the problem of newly created construction identities, the research of the author Jasna Čapo Žmegač (2009) is especially important. The author in the very title of her work On the genealogy of concepts and meanings of the handkerchief and tie, uses the term métissage (French métiss) referring to examples of hybridization or descendants of mixed ancestors. Here we should dwell on the very notion of the mixed character of the tie as an object that has been exposed to various influences throughout history, which is why it should be viewed, as the author states, as a reflection of dynamic cultural appropriations. However, a particularly significant contribution, which is also a starting point for further questioning the ways and types of tie promotion in Academia Cravatica, is Čapo Žmegač's discussion of the phenomenon of this "institution", the company Potomac d.d. as the owner of the Croata brand (kravata / Croata) through Bauman's (1996) and Hall's (1996) thesis on identity as a result of the project, ie something behind a certain conception and practice of implementation.


Čapo Žmegač states: “… Finally, from the 1990s onwards, especially through the efforts of Academia Cravatica, national, Croatian content is entered into the subject, so it is reconstructed as a national label. At the same time, it receives inter and trans-national content because it is proclaimed a symbol of European and civic culture and a sign of some fundamental ones. ”(Čapo Žmegač 2009)

He further concludes regarding the Academie Cravatice tie project:… “they should also be discussed critically because they implicitly or explicitly use evolutionary, Eurocentric and patriarchal discourse.” (Čapo Žmegač 2009)

The continuation of the project for the next 2022 envisages a wider research of tie projects in the transition period to EU accession, in order to determine construction methods, their dimensions and ways of mythizing the tie in order to achieve a symbol of strong national identity.






1  https://www.adorio.hr/potomac (pristupljeno 9.11.2021.)

2  https://www.croata.hr/hr-hr/contact-us (pristupljeno 9.11.2021.)

3  Academia Cravatica. Croata. Url: https://www.croata.hr/hr-hr/o-nama/akademija/academia-cravatica (pristupljeno 9.11.2021)

4  Jungvirth, Goran. Marijan Bušič, osnivač Academia Cravatica. Udruga.hr. Url: http://udruga.hr/intervjui/marijan-busic/ (pristupljeno 9.11.2021)

5  Celinić, Josipa (2017). ACADEMIA CRAVATICA brend koji vezuje ljubav, baštinu i dostojanstvo. BrendFulness, magazin o organizacijskoj kulturi i vođenju, br. 12. Url: https://brendfulness.com/academia-cravatica-brend-koji-vezuje-ljubav-bastinu-i-dostojanstvo/ (pristupljeno 9.11.2021)

6 Matković, Mihovil-Bogoslav (2020). Zašto Akademija i Kravata u snažnoj poveznici. Academia Cravatica. Url: https://academia-cravatica.hr/kravata-bastina-hrvatske-i-svijeta/?lang=hr (pristupljeno 9.11.2021)





Bauman, Zygmunt (1996). "From Pilgrim to Tourist – or a Short History of Identity".  Questions of Cultural  Identity.  S.  Hall,  P.  du  Gay (ur.).  London: Sage Publications, 18-36.

Bauman, Zygmunt (2009). Identitet. Zagreb: Pelago. 

Cvitan, Mirna (1990). Kravata – stoljećima oko vrata, Svijet, br. 22, str. 36.

Čapo Žmegač, Jasna (2009). „Hrvatsko postaje globalno kulturni métissage: od seljačkog rupca do građanske kravate“. Narodna umjetnost : hrvatski časopis za etnologiju i folkloristiku, Vol. 46 No. 1, 161-175. Url: https://hrcak.srce.hr/index.php?show=clanak&id_clanak_jezik=61523

Hall,  Stuart (1996).  "Introduction:  Who  Needs  'Identity'?". Questions  of  Cultural 

Identity. S.  Hall,  P.  du  Gay (ur.).  London: Sage Publications, 1-17.

Huzjan, Vladimir (2008). „Pokušaj otkrivanja nastanka i razvoja kravate kao riječi i odjevnoga predmeta“. Povijesni prilozi, Vol. 27, No. 34, 103-120. Url: https://hrcak.srce.hr/index.php?show=clanak&id_clanak_jezik=43829

Simončič, Katarina Nina (2019). „Contributions to Fashion History – the term Croato in the 16th century“. Museoeruope, Textile, The Culture of Clothing and Fashion, Nives Cvikl, Maja Hren Brvar (ur.). Maribor: Maribor Regional Museum, 14-23. Url: https://www.bib.irb.hr/1027666 

- https://www.adorio.hr/potomac (pristupljeno 9.11.2021.)

- https://www.croata.hr/hr-hr/contact-us (pristupljeno 9.11.2021.)

- Academia Cravatica. Croata. Url: https://www.croata.hr/hr-hr/o-nama/akademija/academia-cravatica (pristupljeno 9.11.2021)




* The text was produced within the project Fashion in Transition: Fashion and Clothing in the Early 1990s in Croatia, 2021. 

* The project was supported by the Ministry of Culture and Media of the Republic of Croatia and the City Office for Culture of the City of Zagreb, for 2021.

* Photos: Private archives t.v.

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