A nomadic fashion show mixes old and new in the mountains of Kyrgyzstan


On the shores of one of the world’s deepest lakes, high in Kyrgyzstan’s Tian Shan Mountains, models strutted around and sported outfits that mixed old and new at the World Nomads Fashion Festival.

A model presents an outfit from the collection of Indonesian designer Akeyla Naraya during the festival.(PA: Vladimir Voronin)

The event, now in its third year, has drawn designers and fashion industry figures from around 20 countries to the shimmering Lake Issyk-Kul to admire outfits inspired by millennial nomadic culture. from Kyrgyzstan.

Masked artists dance on tiles.  a garden bed and the ocean are in the distant background.
The festival took place in Cholpon-Ata, a resort town on the northern shore of Lake Issyk-Kul, 207 kilometers east of Bishkek in Kyrgyzstan.(PA: Vladimir Voronin)

The stiletto heels worn by some models would not suit a true nomad, but some of their elaborate headdresses that appeared to imitate the horns of cattle were interpretations of traditional nomadic costumes.

Silhouettes of seven dancers in front of blue tiles and the sky.
The main objective of the festival is to show the Kyrgyz fashion industry to the world.(PA: Vladimir Voronin)

Swirling, voluminous skirts featured in many outfits, either in elaborate patterns or in bold color blocks.

A woman in a red costume has her hands spread out in front of her face as part of a show.
The fashion event took place from July 21 to 23. (PA: Vladimir Voronin)

Along with tailoring, the fair offered visitors the chance to see an array of yurts – the wood-framed hide or felt tents characteristic of nomads – and brightly colored rugs.

Mannequins dressed in brightly colored clothing are lined up next to a gold statue.
The models wait their turn to present a collection.(PA: Vladimir Voronin)

There were participants from distant countries like Indonesia, Morocco and France.

A model dressed in designer clothes stands in a field with a shed behind her.
A model presents an outfit from the collection of Kyrgyz designer Irina Unsapan.(PA: Vladimir Voronin)

During a three-day program, around 40 designers showcased their work.

Two members of the Russian folk dance ensemble are dressed in colorful outfits and standing with their hands on their hips.
The founder of the event hopes that Kyrgyzstan can create a platform for organizing fashion shows and exhibitions for the global fashion industry.(PA: Vladimir Voronin)

“The World Nomad Fashion Festival is the first and only project in Central Asia and some European countries that glorifies the civilization of nomads,” said event founder Nazira Begim.

A performer dressed in bright blues and purples has her arms outstretched during a dance.
Elaborate patterns and bright colors are present in many outfits.(PA: Vladimir Voronin)

“It was created in 2019. This idea belongs to me. The project is part of my old dreams.

“When I first organized it, without knowing anyone personally, I invited designers from 17 countries and also organized it on the shores of Lake Issyk-Kul.”

Members of the Russian folk dance ensemble from Adygea walk in a line, dressed in colorful clothes.
Members of the Russian folk dance ensemble from Adygea perform.(PA: Vladimir Voronin)

Ms. Begim is keen to shine a light on Kyrgyzstan’s fashion industry.



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