Middle East

Turkish avaWe’ve found a large collection of vintage photos of Turkish folk costumes from the end of the 19th century. And we’d like to share them with you. Unfortunately, these are black&white photos so you can’t distinguish the color palette of the garments and most of the ornamentation. But still, we can see the cut, design, and shapes of Turkish multilayered male, female, and kid costumes, their awesome accessories (often, pretty bizarre, too). So, here is the first portion of photos.

Ottoman royalty avaThe Ottoman Empire (the 14th – early 20th century) was a very large, very powerful, and very wealthy state. The clothing of its rulers and their concubines was the most fashionable and high-quality – the most expensive fabrics only, gold embroidery, plenty of gold and silver jewelry, etc. But the cut and design of these garments, of course, were rather modest and restrained because it was a Muslim country. Here you can see several beautiful vintage clothing articles from museum collections that represent the Ottoman Empire.

Shal and Shepik avaThe Kurdish traditional clothing is still used sometimes today, though, mostly by older people. Particularly, the ancient outfit called the “shal and shepik” can be rarely seen these days in everyday life; it is mostly worn as a ceremonial dress. These clothing pieces were even banned by Turkish politicians at one time – they were called “uniforms for illegal organizations”. But in reality, shal and shepik are just the handmade folk garments that are considered Kurdish cultural heritage.

Sadberk showpiece avaOne of the most extraordinary museums of traditional clothing, accessories, and jewelry in Turkey is based on a private collection. The woman named Sadberk Koç dedicated her life to collecting precious Turkish antiques from the 18th-19th centuries. She managed to gather a great number of items. And after her death, her husband created the Sadberk Hanim Museum or Lady Sadberk Museum to show her collection to the Turkish people and the whole world. This collection is marvelous! Just one person owned enough valuables for the whole museum!

A ZTraditional pieces of the male and female national costumes in Turkey: aigrette, anteri, bademler, başmak, bindalli, binish, çarik, çedik, cepken, çizme, cübbe, don, entari, ferace, fez, gomlek, hirka, iki etek entari, jubba, kaftan, kalpak, kemer, keşan, kushak, kütahya, mest, mintan, peştemal, potur, qamis, salta, sarik, shalvar, tek etek entari, turban, üç etek entari, yasmak, yelek, and zibin.

Turkish-couple avaTurkey is a country with old clothing traditions. Their roots are in the Ottoman Empire which has formed Turkish cultural and traditional heritage pretty much. Even hundreds of years after the Ottoman Empire, Turkish national costume has a lot of features typical for those days. But today few people in Turkey wear traditional clothing in day-to-day life. Men usually use European style of clothes or mix some elements of the folk dress with western pieces of attire. Women wear national costumes more often, they retained the national dress more fully and keep the traditions more carefully.

talli avaThe talli embroidery or braiding is one of the authentic clothing crafts still popular in the United Arab Emirates. Emirati women have been doing it, like, forever because no one knows when this handicraft was first invented. The talli embroidering is a rather complicated and time-consuming process, girls start to learn how to do it around 5 years old, but the artful pieces made by talli technique are worth all the effort – they are beautiful!

Emirati avaThe jalabiya is definitely one of the most beautiful and impressive Emirati pieces of clothing, if not the prettiest garment ever. These female robes are traditional and, at the same time, look contemporary. Thanks to these garments, the women in the UAE are able to wear something bright and ornate, because, as you know, their daily apparel usually includes the abaya, a thin black robe, which is very modest and has a few embellishments. But the festive jalabiya totally compensates for that.

UAE avaThere are many speculations about Emirati traditional clothing these days. In particular, about local women wearing hijabs, special burqa masks, and other headwear that covers the face. But actually, there is a good reason for such accessories, just as for some of the men’s clothing articles. For instance, do you know the second functional reason to use an agal, special cord that holds the male headscarf in place? It is exciting how every part of Emirati national costume has its purpose and cultural background.

Shemagh avaWe would like to share with you a nice tutorial on how to wear the Emirati shemagh. In the video, you’ll see that the tutor uses the “Shall Omani” (Omani headwrap) rather than the Emirati shemagh. That’s because the fabric of shall Omani is thicker and so the details are better visible. But you can do the same with your shemagh or ghutra. The shemagh (also called keffiyeh, kufiya, ghutrah, hattah, mashadah, chafiye, dastmal yazdi, or cemedani) is the traditional Middle Eastern men’s headdress.

Al Sadu avaAl Sadu is a traditional weaving technique in the United Arab Emirates. Just as many other folk crafts around the world, Al Sadu is close to disappearance. Fewer and fewer Emirati women practice it and teach the youth how to weave using Al Sadu technique. But still, Bedouins are a rare ethnic group that thoroughly keeps the old traditions. Hopefully, this craft will also survive. But if not, use this chance to watch the traditional Bedouin weaving and learn more about it, while you still can.

Talli embroidery avaEmbroidery is a very widespread craft – craftsmen and craftswomen from most of the countries around the world practice it. But the traditional talli embroidery of the UAE differs much from any other embroidery technique. Emirati women have kept this tradition till today and continue to popularize it in the modern world – you can find fashionable accessories adorned with handmade talli in many European expensive boutiques. You might not even realize that your purse or belt is embellished with talli embroidery.

A ZTraditional pieces of the male and female national costumes in the United Arab Emirates (UAE): abaya, agal, burqa, gafaaz, gishwa, gutrah, hijab, kandura, keffiyeh, niqab, sheila, thawb.

emirati couple avaEmirati men and women still keep their traditions in the 21st century. They wear the national outfits of the United Arab Emirates every day due to the tradition, religious law, and climate of the country. When Emiratis go abroad they usually prefer to wear the western-style clothing but at home, most of them continue to use kanduras, gutrahs, and abayas. The clothing tradition is very important in the UAE, so tourists should remember about that and respect it, even if we’re not used to wearing such clothes.

Burqa avaThe Yemeni folk clothing culture is very diverse and interesting. As usual, female traditional outfits are much more eye-catching, elaborately decorated, and bejeweled than male folk costumes. Especially the traditional headdresses of Yemeni women in rural areas – they’re striking! But let’s find out what are the main traditional garments worn by men and women in Yemen, how they look like, and whether they’re totally unique or typical for the Arab culture.

Yemeni-girl avaThe ancient culture of Yemen has a lot to present to tradition lovers all around the world and people who are fond of vintage national clothing. This country has some magnificent pieces of outfits; some of them are still in use while others are almost completely forgotten. The most interesting are vintage handmade garments with lots of colorful embroideries, intricate gold jewelry, pieces made by a unique Yemeni tie-dyeing technique, and traditional daggers that always complement the male costumes.