Interestingly, the colour of the anorak, which is the top half of the costume, was influenced by hair ribbons which were worn in the 1700s. Nikolaus Ludwig von Zinzendorf was a missionary from Germany who brought the tradition with him. At that time, ladies in his country used ribbons around their neck to express whether they were married or not. Because the Greenlandic women wore clothing with high collars, they improvised and tied ribbons around their hair bun instead.
Back then, there was no specific colour allocated to the anorak in Greenland. If one could get fabric, regardless of colour, that was what you used to make an anorak. This lasted until the early 1900s. However when the KGH (Den Kongelige Grønlandske Handel, the Royal Greenland Trading Department) started to have Greenlandic locals as workers in their business, it became much easier to order products they wanted from outside of Greenland. Greenlanders started ordering the colour fabric that they wanted, and consequently the symbolic meaning of the hair ribbons’ colour transmitted from the hair to anorak. While there is still cultural reference to the colour of anorak reflecting one’s status, these days red is widely used regardless of a woman’s situation.