Report on the online talk ‘"The history of the national dress of Uzbek women (XIX-XX centuries) and the societal changes" by Dr Gaybullaeva (Webster University, Tashkent)

Full recording available here.

On 21st May 2021, the British-Uzbek society hosted an online webinar chaired by Rosa Vercoe.

Dr Yulduz Gaybullaeva, a Tashkent-based speaker presented a talk on the topic “The history of the national dress of Uzbek women (XIX-XX centuries) and the societal changes”.

In particular, the historical role of traditional clothing was noted as a kind of communicative feature that spoke about regional origins, social and marital status of a woman through some characteristic features – from the presence of individual elements and form of clothing, to its ornamental composition and use of particular colours.

In general, six historical and cultural areas were identified, where characteristic types of traditional clothing were formed: Fergana-Tashkent, Bukhara, Samarkand, Kashkadarya, Surkhandarya and Khorezm. All of them differed from each other in the types of dressing, differences in the methods of tying scarves, varieties of jewellery and ritual clothes.

Historical development and external factors also influenced to a certain extent the tradition of the national costume. In the 1920s in Uzbekistan, as a result of the Khujum (Offensive) movement, a number of traditional constituent elements disappeared from women’s costume, in particular, multi-tiered jewellery, complex multi-layered headdresses, purdah and so on.

Since the mid-1950s, some new features and styles have appeared in the Uzbek women’s clothing. The visible age and social status indicators did not matter anymore: the style become more urban, comfortable and light, more in line with the European style dictated by Moscow.  Since the Uzbekistan’s Independence, however, the national elements of female clothing have been incorporated in the contemporary clothing as a sign of national identity and traditional female beauty. The national chapans and mursaks with a beautiful handmade embroidery and elegant style are coming back to fashion. They are also very popular with tourists.

As the lecturer noted, at present, the traditions of national dress continue to develop. The contemporary Uzbek designers, referring to the origins of folk costume, try to combine European and Eastern styles in a balanced way, which brings an element of exclusivity to the costume.

The lecture sparked a great interest among the participants, who had a chance to ask many questions during the Q&A. On the whole, it was a very informative and enjoyable event.

Please follow this link, if you want to view the full recording of the talk.