After a particularly draining day last week, I tucked up onto our sofa and scrolled my social media feeds in blissful silence. I don’t know about you, but the algorithms for my feed skew towards political activism, current affairs and satire. But in that moment, I wished something beautiful and new would appear under my thumb – I wasn’t in the mood to go search my bookshelves or the internet for it, I just wanted something with a bit more style and a bit less stress.
And with that thought, this video magically appeared (h/t to the lovely Sirajunmunira)! It features the textiles, clothing and traditional fashion of women from fourteen different regions of Uzbekistan. Obviously this video was made for a modern audience but it showcases everything I love about Central Asian style. The sumptuous colour, clashing prints, oversized florals, long lines, layers, silk, accessories… for a modern modest maximalist like me, it’s the ultimate look. Which got me thinking, I don’t have enough ikat in my closet and perhaps it’s time to retire some of those ‘muted’ tones and led directly to a weekend long browse of Uzbek fashion designers, instagrammers and shops.
I love the way these young designers and boutiques have taken one of their strongest and most specialised traditional industries (textiles in the form of silk production, ikat weaving and embroidery, most well known as suzani) and paired them with modern silhouettes to create looks which are both elegant and compelling and are definitely inspiring my latest wardrobe update. Even if you tend to more pared down looks, there are elements and textures here which all tastes can appreciate – so feast your eyes and, as always, give us your take in the comments.
The first Uzbek designer I stumbled across on instagram, Dildora Kasimova founded her eponymous brand in 2006. Growing up, her mother worked in a textile factory and her long-standing love of traditional textiles and tailoring shines through. Working with those same traditional artisans, she creates her own textiles and accessories, giving us designs which exude an easy glamour. All images from dildorakasimova.com.
Founded in 2012 by textile designer Zuhra Inat and her three daughters, Moel Bosh clothes are a bit quirky, vibrant and fun. Dedicated to natural fabrics and showcasing their self-designed textiles, they note that their patterns are inspired by those observed in the great, ancient city of Samarkand. All images from moelbosh.com.
Be still my colour-loving, pattern adoring heart! Another amazing young Uzbek designer whose clothing I couldn’t stop admiring. Award-winning Sulton founded her line around 2013 and is dedicated to creating ultra-feminine haute couture collections. Dedicated to continuing traditional craftmanship, the elegant lines of her designs not only highlight the marvellous and unique textiles of Uzbekistan but transform them into wearable (and covetable), works of art. All images from Zulfiya Sulton.
For even more inspiration, visit the absolutely stunning LALI Fashion House – gorgeous and accessible ready-to-wear fashion inspired by the heritage of Uzbekistan. Now if only there was a way to purchase online…
Feature image by Kareva Margarita, dress by Dildora Kasimova.