Tuesday, July 8, 2014

UČA Berets

It is with intense pleasure that I announce the arrival of the very first lot of Serbian made berets, a new addition to the stock of South Pacific Berets (see here: http://southpacificberets.com/uča-serbia.php). 
The Yugoslav hat manufacturer UČA was founded in the Serbian city of Vršac in 1924 and has made berets from it's very beginning. The Basque beret became especially popular in Bosnia and the Sandzjak region in Marshall Titio's communist Yugoslavia; it proved to be a very acceptable headgear for Muslims who wanted to keep their heads covered, but not go against the political tide of the time.
The factory is named Uča after Žarko Zrenjanin "Uča". Uča was the friendly nickname for the teacher Zarko Zrenjanin who became a famous partisan during the war and who, to this day, is honoured in many ways; a beret factory is one, the city of Zrenjanin is another. Uča was one of the leaders of the Vojvodinian Communists and Partisans. His glory comes from his actions during the battles on the rivers Neretva and Sutjeska. He was imprisoned and tortured by the Nazis for months and killed while trying to escape.
UČA specializes in the production of military berets. These were of such exceptional quality that even NATO member countries like the Netherlands, Germany and the United Kingdom chose UČA berets for their armed forces. Local companies in the respective countries would sew in a lining and label, that way able to legally state the berets were made in that country. 
Until the economic sanctions against Serbia, yearly beret sales to foreign buyers ranged between 300 - 400 thousand pieces. UČA privatised in 2005 and changed it's name to UČA International. The complete production is done in-house by UČA International; knitting, linking, fulling, dyeing, shaping and confectioning under supervision of the CIS Textile Institute of Belgrade. 
 At South Pacific Berets we now stock two models, both in a light density wool, perfectly suited for summer and warmer climates:
Standard Basque Beret without headband, lined, but without cabilliou (the little wick at the centre of the beret
Basque Beret with a vinyl rimmed (sized) headband and fitted with lining and two air-vents and cabilliou.
Berets of exceptional value for money!

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