Azerbaijan illuminates catwalk with national costumes

By Joel Lee
  • Published : May 18, 2018 - 14:18
  • Updated : May 18, 2018 - 14:19

In a proud demonstration of the nation’s wearable heritage, the Azerbaijani Embassy in Korea marked the centenary anniversary of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic (1918-20), a short-lived nation-state precursor to the modern-day Republic of Azerbaijan, by showcasing the vibrant colors and tapestries of its traditional costumes.

“Azerbaijan’s national dresses are the results of long and complicated historical processes in the nation’s cultural and intellectual developments,” Azerbaijani Ambassador Ramzi Teymurov said at a fashion show in Seoul on May 6.

A myriad of artistic traditions, colors, designs and symbols amalgamated to create Azerbaijan’s national dresses, including silk wear, gavonuz, mov, zarbaft, satin, velvet, taffeta, faille and tirma. The differences can be traced to diverse regional groups and social classes, he explained.

A model wearing a traditional Azerbaijani dress poses at the Azerbaijan-Korea Fashion Show at Coex in Seoul on May 6. (Azerbaijan Embassy)

The event, part of the C-Festival at Coex, was co-organized with the Korea Culture Association and Korea Foundation. Konul Humbatova, an Azerbaijani designer and head of the Baku National Costumes House, and Korean designer Ham Eun-jeong displayed clothing they had designed.

“This year, Azerbaijan celebrates the 100th anniversary of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic all over the world. The Azerbaijan Democratic Republic’s declaration of independence on May 28, 1918, was a historic event and one of the glorious pages of our history,” Teymurov said.

“The democratic republic’s short-lived existence was clear evidence that oppressive colonial regimes that occupied Azerbaijan could not eradicate our desires for liberty, sovereignty and freedom. It was the first parliamentary republic in our history modeled on the democratic secular state and rule of law.”

The Azerbaijan Democratic Republic adopted a governmental system in which a parliament was elected based on proportional representation. The parliament, which acted as the supreme organ of state authority, gave suffrage to women and gave them equal political rights as men, the first instance for a Muslim-majority nation.

But the republic did not last long. It was incorporated into the Soviet Union in 1920 as the Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic.

Today’s Azerbaijan, a country in the South Caucasus, gained its independence from the Soviet Union on Oct. 18, 1991, hastening the dissolution of the communist empire that eventually collapsed in December 1991.

“Following our independence, Azerbaijan emerged as a pearl of Caucasus with the region’s highest rate of economic growth, a multifaceted society with rich cultures, abundant natural resources and human capital,” the envoy said. “Enjoying friendly relations with almost all countries of the world, including the Republic of Korea, Azerbaijan is committed to enhancing and developing its bilateral relations with all its partners.”

By Joel Lee (