Shapan avaHave you ever thought about trying another country’s national dress on? What would it feel like? Would it feel comfortable or strange? Would you look different? One man decided to try to wear Kazakh national outfit and share his thoughts and feelings.

Kazakhstan is a country with a rather weak political influence in the world, but its culture is very rich and unique. Locals traditionally are used to showing their status with their attire. That’s why there is so much gold embroidery, expensive fabrics, and costly furs in the Kazakh traditional dress.

Here we are. I’m wearing a traditional hat and overcoat. Look at the integrated details – that's gold embroidery. And this is velvet fabric. And the amount of skilled art, craftsmanship that's gone into creating this amazing embroidery. The finishing touch of this amazing velvet is this fur. It is wonderful! Also, it is very warm. This costume looks very fancy.





This coat is called “shapan” in Kazakhstan. And the hat is called “takiya”.

This hat is slightly different from the other headdresses. There are many various types of headgear and of outerwear in this country.

I feel really Kazakh-like! Thank you for letting me wear this and to promote Kazakh traditions. It’s a very impressive dress.

Now, I’ll try another hat. You can see the details on this hat. Actually, it is very, very different and very powerful. I feel extremely proud to be able to wear this hand-crafted piece. I’m able to feel being a part of this culture.





Here is another costume. You know, these costumes can sometimes go from $1,000 to $10,000, depending on the status, on the integrated details, etc. This particular costume is very, very skillfully done. There is so much detail in this outfit. The base fabric is velvet once again and the embellishments are gold stitching.





It goes from the status of the traditions in Kazakhstan. You’ve got to show the power of your family and your own status. Such as if you're working for the government or if you're a ministerial or a businessman. It all is shown by the costumes that you would be wearing at a traditional event.

I am so sad that I don't see these costumes being worn by the ordinary Kazakh people in Kazakhstan. I have been in this country about 4-5 times yet. I haven't seen a single person wearing such clothing in day-to-day life or even to an event yet. I hope the Kazakh traditions will continue to be protected in this country into the future. I’m sure within certain communities of Kazakhstan, there will be people who will protect their traditions and cultural aspect of life.

This is a costume designer’s store in Kazakhstan. Most of these dresses are being worn only at a special event, a special ceremony, such as a National Day or wedding.






These headdresses have a very powerful statement of culture, a very powerful statement of the way of life, and the traditional ways of life. These costumes – I've hardly ever seen anyone wearing them. These are all handmade, these are all traditionally designed to feature a certain element of the culture, a certain element of their way of life. They are beautiful, amazing costumes.


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