Bringing the Past Alive: Kazakh Traditional Dress in Modern Fashion

Jul 22, 2019
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Bringing the Past Alive: Kazakh Traditional Dress in Modern Fashion

Salem, readers! The Astana Times recently published a piece on their website that highlights the works of a renowned Kazakh fashion designer named Balnur Assanova. Assanova, who is also the Symbat Fashion Academy Art Director, was interviewed by the publication to have her explain her fantastic fashion designs that double as works of art. This blog post will give an overview of the interview, which can be found in the Astana Time’s article here.

First and foremost, Assanova explained that traditional Kazakh national clothing is defined by conservative style, bright colors, and Tengrian ornaments. She expounds on this by saying that there are four types of ornaments that are generally found in Kazakh dress, and these are: geometric (shapes), botanical (florals), cosmogonical (having to do with astronomy and astrophysics) and zoomorphic (inspired by animals). These ornaments were used heavily in the clothing of the traditional Kazakh people because there were not many other art forms available during their time.

Historically, the Kazakh people also had to use what was around them to create their clothing, and what people wore indicated their social status to others. Most clothing was made from felt, wool, fur, animal hides, and eventually, cotton. Wealthy folk had their clothing made out of silk, velvet, and brocade.

In addition to using materials that were readily available to them, the Kazakh people also used color in a specific way. The color blue represented the sky, the color white was a symbol for joy, yellow signified wisdom, red meant fire & the sun, green represented youth/spring, and black was symbolic for the ground.

Assanova revisits the use of traditional Kazakh ornaments in her clothing, but she does it differently. In her interview, she stated that she likes to break the stereotypes of the ornamental use and combine different images together to create beautiful, Kazakh-inspired garments. She also experiments with color combinations to make her clothing stand out from traditional clothing.

When asked where she gets her inspiration, Assanova stated that she visits “historical and contemporary art museums” and she travels. You can view more of her work on her Instagram page.

Well, readers, there you have it. While the traditional Kazakh clothing is gorgeous on the surface, the stories and meanings behind it are actually very inspiring. Be sure to check out Balnur Assanova’s work to see her take on the traditional Kazakh wear.



  Photo Source: Works of Balnur Assanova

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