Almaty definitely has enough famous stores to reach the status of “fashion capital”: Saks Fifth Avenue, Dior, Stella McCartney, Prada, and Moschino have all opened their doors to the local style royalty. By that token, double dressing can occur quite often, especially when we are talking about statement pieces, which people here don’t dare to wear. So that’s when local designers can get their advantage and introduce something different to Almaty’s fashion aficionados, who are open to new things.
There are some talented designers in Kazakhstan, like Aika Alemi, who previously showed her collections in London and Paris. When it comes to creating her clothes, the designer incorporates traditional national quilting techniques, which make her pieces look unique and cool. Another label, Lanthane57, offers up effortless chic and a young spirit: The whole collection reminded me of a modern school uniform, and I would definitely wear the pieces.
Kazakhstan boasts plenty of young designers, including Khan Kuchum, Y. A. & De Guise, Woodeez, The Rolly Polly, and Ruslan Panama, to name a few. Kuchum completed his first collection at the tender age of 17, and straightaway showed at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Almaty. It featured outerwear for both men and women, color-blocked dresses, and very inventive sunglasses. Panama had plenty going for him in order to become a fashion star: an education from Istituto Marangoni and Central Saint Martins, bright ideas, and lots of ambition. My favorite look from his collection was a poncho and skirt in a deep burgundy color, and a fur coat with pink accents.
The tradition of wearing evening clothes is very strong in Kazakhstan, as an average wedding here is attended by no less than five hundred guests, and most of them require stunning gowns. So designers like Alima, Kravets, and Tarverdyan are in demand, with their attention to handwork, beading, use of feathers, and opulent additions.
Fashion gangs in Kazakhstan are divided between those who invest in big brands, especially by wearing expensive statement accessories, and those who look nice in their no-name outfits with bold prints or intricate cuts. Both can be potential audiences for the local designers, who should do their best to secure their niche in the growing market of this new fashion capital.
Photos: Courtesy of Ryan Koopmans