By Molly Rose
How much do you know about Kazakhstan or fashions from similar Asian countries?
Kazakhstan, specifically its capital Almaty, is slowly but steadily becoming a fashion epicenter. More and more people are turning to new norms to change the face of fashion design and communication.
What’s different about KFW in Almaty, as one writer put it, is its unique “blend of international standards and raw talents,” which helps to establish the city as a marketplace in the “oversaturated fashion industry” (Shapavola, Style.com).
If the industry is cluttered, then how do designers distinguish themselves from others in the first place? What is the catch that really sets them apart?
The answer is this: designers must not only draw inspiration from those around them, but they must also draw inspiration from within, using personal narratives to guide their designs. In my mind, the designers who truly succeed are the ones who can whisper honest words and wisdom within their designs from very beginning of their existence.
In Kazakhstan, designers are creating looks that are mere spinoffs off traditional Kazakh attire. Such attire includes heavy use of embroidery and ornamental surface details, natural fibers, and organic colors and silhouettes. Although designers feature some modern twists in their collections with bold colors and more geometric design choices, they generally don’t stray from their cultural roots in their collections.
This picture above is a perfect example of style choices that are reflective of traditional Kazakh culture. Kazakhstan designer, Saltanat Baimukhamedova, selected this very look for her collection during KFW in 2013. The wrap-around-the-head braided hairdo is not prevalent in American fashions, and the colorful beading and furry hats glorify Kazakh culture even more.
What do you gain from looking at this image? Do you identify with these foreign hairdos? Are you willing to step outside yourself and try something new?
Molly Kestenbaum, whose signature name is Molly Rose, is a sophomore at Cornell University. She is majoring in Fiber Science & Apparel Design and dreams of owning a fashion brand centered around beauty, empowerment, and togetherness. In addition to her love for design, she loves to write, cook, run, travel, and of course, spend time with her beloved family and friends. For more information, check out her blog: www.mollyrose23.squarespace.com. Happy reading!