22 February 2012
by Isabella Redmond Styles
While Uzbekistan may not be the first place you associate with emerging fashion design, the exhibition at the Embassy of Uzbekistan in London proved that the country’s fashion industry is thriving. The exhibition centred around two up and coming Uzbekistani designers but also showcased pieces from the partnership London College of Fashion and the Tashkent Institute of Textile and Light Industry. The aim of the partnership was to allow students from Tashkent to explore the history and tradition of Uzbekistani crafts in order to inspire them to create contemporary designs for the luxury market. The pieces on display from the partnership, made use of traditional ornate Uzbekistani embroidery on everything from dresses to shoes as well as more minimal, avant-garde pieces.
Designer Saodat Hodjimuratova’s work was also shown alongside pieces from the LCF/Tashkent programme. Saodot graduated from the Benkov Art College in 2002 and is known for her use of zhanda fabric, the oldest variety of fabric from Surkhandarya province. Whilst she continues to use traditional fabrics, including khafomat beads, Saodat also includes vivid colour and new approaches to sewing and tailoring in order to keep her collections up to date.
In contrast, designer Munisa Askarova, whose work is also on display at the Embassy, uses her designs to explore Western approaches to life versus an Eastern world outlook. For her Spring/Summer 2012 collection, Munisa was interested in the cut of clothing in regard to transformation. Several of the pieces on display can be worn as multiple garments, including a dress which transforms into a hood. While Munisa is keen to experiment with the cut of her clothing, she also continues to uphold the traditions of Uzbekistani crafts. She is currently developing a clothing and accessories line that will use an ancient Uzbekistani block print technique and traditional natural dyes.
The exhibition is taking place at the Embassy of Uzbekistan, 41 Holland Park, W11 3RP until 29th February.