Traditions in Trend

Issue #3 • 128

Vera Chursina,
Designer

The processes of globalization occurring in the world had a profound impact on the fashion of the XXI century, offering the images of fashionable standards of behavior and consumption to the mass consumer, eroding the specifics of the national cultures. The modern level of development of production leads to the destruction of many ethnic cultures, to distortion of harmony of their traditional forms.
Labor-intensive hand sewing of the national costumes is being displaced by the development of new technologies and machines, while the fashion industry dictates the shape and proportions of a generic template, destroying the harmonious relationship between the ethnic image of a human being and his/her attire. At the same time, there is an interest in the past, in the cultural traditions of both one’s own and foreign peoples. As one of the realities of the modern world, globalization confronts humanity with a difficult challenge, at the same time opening new horizons in understanding of the identity of the human kind.
In our country the priorities have smoothly shifted towards ikat, which has become an indisputable national brand (1, ð. 69-70). In 2005, the models dressed in the creations by Oscar de la Renta with long-familiar abre patterns, stepping directly from the world’s catwalks, have urged us to recall their origin, and also to be deservedly proud of them. Today, the ikat prints decorate the products of mass consumption like plastic bags, glass ware and chinaware, bedding, furniture, bijouterie, gift wrap, greeting cards, business cards, sun blinds, etc.
Fashion for ikat dictates its conditions to the manufacturers of these national crafts fabrics. Increased competition for new opportunities emerging in the global market force them to seek alternative ways of development. If in the recent past, a craftsman creating a pattern on the fabric was relying only on his own experience and vision, drawing inspiration from the surrounding reality, the present day craftsmen mainly focus on the fashion trends and demands of consumers. Expanding the boundaries of local markets, participating in the international fairs in America, Europe and the Middle East, producers are trying to create the products that will be successfully sold abroad as well. This happens because the designers order their own unique fabric designs to create modern clothing. Since only recently, the modeling was based on the width and pattern of the fabric, i.e. traditionally there was a relationship between design and fabric, and today the modern methods of cutting and obtaining a three-dimensional structure of the costume put forward other requirements.
In an effort to diversify the stock and attract more consumers, craftsmen use the styling of not only traditional ornaments, but sometimes of very unexpected motifs like the palm trees, hearts, signs of the Euro and the Dollar, and architectural structures. Although the craftsmanship products always reflected the social and cultural reality, it is not always possible to classify them as highly artistic pieces. Besides, there are also quite interesting and reasonable interpretations when, for example, the custom ornaments include the modified fragments of Karakalpak folk embroidery Samarkand suzani. Altering the traditional elements of the drawings, the artists make changes to the ancient technique of abre dyeing of the thread. Just so, the hereditary weaver F. Dadajanov creates the amazingly beautiful fabrics, which boldly combine the technique of jacquard and traditional hand weaving. The original relief pattern obtained as a result of a complex interlay of thick cotton and silk fabric, something resembles a tapestry. The workshop of the craftsman nowadays looks more like an experimental laboratory, which walls are hung with drawings and diagrams of future ornaments. It should be noted that almost all of the craftsmen creations sometimes have patterns hidden in details, bearing their unique signature.
The craftsmen – Hunarmand of the “Yodgorlik” factory in Marghilan in their efforts to develop the modern design of textiles use the advanced computer technology (Galaincha software) to develop new abre compositions. Such programs allow the use of different variations of the ornament not only for design of traditional fabric – shoyi, adras, satin, etc., but also for creating custom composite solutions on carpets. In this case the inspirational source is not only the ikat, but the motifs of antique suzani. In order to obtain the new types of textures of the fabrics, the blended yarn of silk, wool, cotton and linen are used in combination.
Unlike the artisans, who introduce new technologies and try to improve the quality of the fabric and diversify the color and pattern range, but remain true to the ancient traditions, the designers are looking for their own ways to conquer the fashion market. One of the marketing strategies of attracting customers is the study of demand and the influence of the national and cultural identity on consumers’ tastes.
Modern technologies, allowing the use of the photo print as a decorative design of any product, be it a bag or a t-shirt, have allowed the stylists to print any picture or subject on their creations. The prints adorn almost everything – from shoes to hats. Therefore, in addition to the much-beloved ikat decor, the print imitating the national jewelry has become one of the widely used both as a print and as embroidery (models of “Moel Bosh”, “KomoDesign”, “LALI”). Not always it is a reasonable pastiche of folk art, in often cases it is immediate quoting. For example, the reproduction of the miniatures or paintings of Uzbek artists, the portraits of well-known figures of the Middle Ages, images of architectural monuments of ancient cities of Uzbeksitan, and all sorts of slogans appealing to the patriotic feelings of the buyer, logos-appliques made from the fabrics with abre pattern and the elements of wall rugs – suzani transferred on clothing by “Bibi Hanum”, “Ây Sipa” and “Uzbek Apparel”.
Is it possible to consider it as a manifestation of ethnic fashion or the irony of stereotypes in fashion and the fashion itself? On the one hand, it is a set of cliches, on the other hand it is a kind of alternative to the symbols of the Western pop culture. Not many perceive this trend, someone really considers it vulgar and banal, but everyone has the right of choice. For pop art phenomenon it is irrelevant to be evaluated by a certain group of people, the crucial is a broad popularity of that creation throughout society. Today, commercial success is virtually the only criterion for assessing the creativity of the designer (2, p.77).
Is it a result of a new consumer culture that emerged at the turn of the century and got developed at present in Uzbekistan? Perhaps this is a phenomenon that was transferred to the local soil, which looks a bit strange, but actually nobody can prevent the use of pop art in the modern outfit. The analysis shows that this is one of the hottest trends of the recent seasons. The clothes in this style are always bright and extravagant and intended mainly for young people. The purchase of products, decorated with portraits of famous personalities or cartoon characters gives you the opportunity to stand out from the crowd attracting attention to yourself.
The younger generation is the largest consumer segment of the mass market, which the global expansion of the Internet and the emergence of the online stores of ready to wear clothes are contributing to. By all means, the digital printing allows quick and cheap replication of a variety of figures, however the main task of designer is not a mindless copying, but finding and creating the modern interpretations of folk art.
Along with the development of the national traditions in a modern outfit there is a challenge of fighting with the ethnography in design of the clothes, with a mechanical repetition of archaic forms and with pseudo-ethnic style. The overloading of details, exaggerated theatricality, obsession with stylistic variations are the features that are characteristic of the local fashion of the last decade. There are attempts to decorate the modern outfit with embroidery, in some cases overlooking its appropriateness, not organically combining it with the shape and construction of garments. Often, there is no sense of proportion – an outfit becomes oversaturated with prints, appliques and decorations of the buttafory nature.
Do such methods of decoration of clothes contribute to the development of the national design, or is this the inevitable result of the complexity of social life and processes of globalization, as well as costly and multifaceted technological progress, that all together lead to tougher competition for new opportunities and spheres of influence in the global fashion market? In this case, the textile and apparel is a somewhat indicator that reflects the changes in the country and the society. Probably, there is a connection between the rise of the national consciousness and a renewed interest in traditional culture and consequent increase in demand for everything national. Or else, it is an attempt not to lose their cultural and ethnic roots, protective reaction of an ethnic group to the all-consuming global processes? I think that this is the subject for discussion…

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