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!
UČA Basque Berets, without Cabilliou
These Basque Berets are "one-size", headband-less berets. To accommodate comfort for both the smaller and larger sized heads, these berets are pre-stretched. If you usually wear a size 55-58, choose the M version; if usually wearing size 59-62, choose the large version. Diameters vary between 27cm (smaller sizes) to 29cm (larger sizes).
UČA Basque Berets with Rimmed Headband and Air-Vents
Basque berets varying from 27 to 29cm diameter (the diameter grows with size). If in doubt between sizes, best to choose the larger option. $ 32.50.