Get the look: Rusvik man, winter clothes

Get the look: Rusvik man, winter clothes

This ensemble is specially crafted for winter. This Viking man is part of the Rusvik. We named him Ivar, and he, along with his wife Thyra, has settled in the region of modern-day Ukraine. Ivar is a 9th-10th-century trader of Swedish origin who grew up in the Viking city of Birka in Sweden.

Kievan Rus

Sweden is traditionally associated with the Rusvik. However, the Rusvik were equally present in Northern Poland, the Baltic states, Finland, Belarus, Russia, and Ukraine. DNA research has shown that Vikings originated from a large diversity of countries.

In the Kiev region, the Rusvik prince Rurik founded a new empire in the 9th century. The Kievan empire was situated at the crossroads between the Islamic world and Scandinavia. Vikings traveled down the Volga River and engaged in trade with the Islamic world. There, they sold commodities such as fur, skins, amber, slaves, and ivory in exchange for Islamic silver dirhams. Dirhams can be seen as the USD or EUR of that time. They had a higher silver content and were thus more reliable than European coins. Vikings also purchased silk, gemstones, and spices from the Middle East.

Rise of the  Kievan Rus

The Kievan Rus began as a collection of Slavic tribes in the region around Kiev, led by princes (knyaz) who exercised authority over the tribes. In the 9th century, Rurik, a Viking prince, arrived in Novgorod and established his dynasty, the Rurikids, as rulers over the area. His successors, such as Oleg the Wise, united the Slavic tribes and laid the foundation for the empire.



Trade with the Baltic states, Ukraine, and the Middle East positioned the Swedish city of Birka at the center. As a result, Birka grew into one of the wealthiest Viking cities. Viking traders established trade routes between Birka and the Kievan Rus. They exchanged goods such as fur, honey, wax, and gemstones from Northern Europe for items like weapons, silver, and textiles from the Kievan Rus.

Boom and Golden Age

In the 10th and 11th centuries, the Kievan Rus experienced its Golden Age. Under rulers like Vladimir the Great and Yaroslav the Wise, the empire expanded and consolidated its power. Kiev became the center of political, economic, and cultural activity, hosting churches, markets, and administrative buildings.

Scandinavian influence was evident in the administrative structure of Kievan Rus. The earliest rulers were often referred to as knyaz (prince), and their administrative practices reflected Viking influence. The city of Novgorod, where the Vikings first arrived, played a central role in the early political and economic development of Kievan Rus.

We have crafted Ivar and his wife Thyra based on clothing and accessories that are representative of the entire Baltic Sea region and the Volga.


Read this blog to learn more about the woman's outfit:


Viking tunic & undertunic

The rubakha, a long tunic, formed the basis of Rusvik clothing. Less affluent men often wore one, while wealthier men wore a second one over it, made of a more expensive fabric. The overtunic is made of wool with a herringbone pattern at the hem. The woolen tunic provides additional warmth in the cold weather of his living area.

Do you prefer an undertunic with long sleeves? Take a look at the Leif Tunic: 

Viking trousers

Characteristic of Ivar's clothing is the breeches that remained popular in Russia and Ukraine until the early modern period. Similar breeches are even depicted on the 9th-century tapestry of the Norwegian Oseberg ship, albeit with an extra-wide puff. 

Viking leg wraps

Under his breeches, Ivar wears woolen leg wraps. The leg wraps were fastened with buckles. 

Viking kaftan

Ivar wears a luxurious kaftan made of red and blue wool. The colors red and blue symbolized wealth. Only wealthier Vikings could afford to wear fabric in these colors. 

Viking hats

Many modern Vikings wear hats. Although hats are not frequently found in Viking graves, it is reasonable to assume that Vikings did often wear hats to protect against the cold. 


Viking cloak

In cold weather, Ivar wore a thick woolen cloak over his kaftan. Besides providing protection against the cold, these cloaks were also used for sleeping. 


Viking belt & pouch

It was considered improper to wear the tunic without a belt. Both the components of the belt and the fittings on the pouch are based on findings in graves from Birka. 


Viking shoes

In this ensemble, Ivar wears Viking shoes found in the Viking city of York. 

Viking sax

Vikings often carried a seax. Seaxes come in both large and small variations. Small seaxes were probably frequently used as tools. This large seax was clearly intended for battle. The Rusvik regularly carried seaxes with scabbards luxuriously decorated with brass fittings. This served both decorative and reinforcing purposes for the scabbard. 

Viking sword

In this ensemble, Ivar carries a Viking sword Petersen Type E2. This sword is based on an original found in a Viking grave at Gnёzdovo near Smolensk in Russia.

Stored in blog: Blog & lookbook

  • author: Patrick
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