What Is Georgia’s Traditional Chokha and Why Is It in Fashion?
21 October, 2017
What Is Georgia’s Traditional Chokha and Why Is It in Fashion?
Georgian historic outfit Chokha has been spotlighted by leading fashion magazine VOGUE. Recently this national Georgian clothing has been integrated in modern fashion industry by famous designers that once again brought to the surface Georgian culture.

VOGUE unveils the reasons of its popularity in modern fashion industry throughout the world.

Chokha is a woolen coat with a high neck that is part of the traditional male dress in peoples of the Caucasus and in Georgia as well.

The chokha has
been in wide use among Georgians from the 9th century until the 1920s. It is still used in Georgia as a symbol of national pride, and is frequently worn by Georgian men at weddings and national holidays or celebrations.

Nowadays, ancient Georgian clothing is quite popular in fashion industry. Chokha was served as the inspiration of famous Georgian designer David Koma’s 2017 collection.


Dresses decorated with Georgian warrior clothing elements attracted massive attention and received positive feedback from the critics and leading fashion publications.

Here is what VOGUE tells about chokha:

What is a chokha?

The chokha is a wool coat, typically worn by men, with cartridge holders on the chest. They were once basic folds, later made to hold bullets and gunpowder; now, they are simply ornamental.

What is its history?

The piece originally hails from Persia and came to Georgia around the 9th century. The chokha is also worn elsewhere in the Caucasus region, like Chechnya.

Depending on the part of Georgia, the garment differs in appearance, whether that means the length or how the holders are used. Though it was rarely worn during the Soviet Union era, many Georgians brought it back as a source of national pride after they claimed independence in the early ’90s. It has become popular to sport the garment at religious ceremonies like weddings and funerals and at political events.
geotv.ge
A Georgian chokha (left) circa the 1880sPhoto: Alamy

Why is it having a fashion moment?

Recently, the chokha made an international impact thanks to Georgia-born designer David Koma, who visited Tbilisi last season. For London’s Fall 2017 collections, Koma went back to his roots with a thigh-skimming homage, asymmetrically placing cartridges on his signature body-hugging dresses.

geotv.ge
An interpretation of the chokha by David Koma for Fall 2017Photo: Indigital.tv

Before that, the traditional piece had been making cameos in the collections of local designers, such as Nicolas Grigorian, Datuna Sulikashvili, and Simon Machabeli.

“Unfortunately, during the Soviet era, the skills for making a chokha were a bit lost. But now it’s coming back,” writes Machabeli. “It is established as a Georgian folk costume and modern interpretations of it can be very interesting.”

geotv.ge

A sketch of a coat with chokha motifs by designer Simon Machabeli for Fall 2017

Where can you see it right now?

On the first day of Tbilisi’s Fall 2017 season, two designers have already referenced the chokha. Anuka Keburia put cartridge holders on sandals and reworked its silhouette in coats; Liya also used the same shape, focusing on flared sleeves.

geotv.ge

Modern interpretations of the chokha by Anuka Keburia (left) and Liya (right) for Fall 2017.
Courtesy of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Tbilisi

Fun fact?

In 1989, Rei Kawakubo, a fan of the Georgian artist Niko Pirosmani, went to Soviet-era Georgia with British photographer Brian Griffin to photograph villagers in Comme des Garçons designs. There, Griffin shot locals in a mix of national dress and CDG, and one famously featured a chokha with a pair of slouchy orange pants. The 12 photographs resurfaced last year when Project ArtBeat held an exhibition in Tbilisi.

geotv.ge

A photograph of a Georgian woman wearing a traditional chokha with Comme des Garçons clothing in 1989.
Courtesy of Brian Griffin / ProjectArtBeat

Where can you buy it?

The Tbilisi store Samoseli Pirveli is known for re-creating traditional Georgian dress and selling different versions of the piece. If you’re looking to make a more casual statement, you can purchase the chic tourist tee, which is typically a simple shirt boasting chest cartridges.

Related stories:

David Koma’s new collection inspired by Georgian chokha spotlighted by VOGUE

“David Koma was in a combative mood” – Leading fashion journal on Georgian designer

Nino Ananiashvili in a chokha! – Prima ballerina’s incredible performance with Sukhishvilebi ensemble
Print
Other Stories
Georgian film festival led by women directors takes place in London
Georgian female directors are gaining more and more recognition internationally.
Georgian female filmmakers’ triumph at Beijing International Film Festival
Georgian cinematographers claimed another great victory, this time at Beijing International Film Festival.
Renaissance of Tbilisi Academy of Arts - The first art academy of Caucasus being revived
The Tbilisi Academy of Arts is one of those hidden jewels of the capital of Georgia that the country can be proud of.
Georgian director’s film Scary Mother wins Golden Gate Prize at San Francisco Festival
Emerging Georgian director Ana Urushadze’s film Scary Mother has claimed yet another prize,
Two productions by Georgian film studio 20 Steps to compete at Cannes and SHORT OF THE YEAR
Georgian cinema continues to reach new heights and earns international success year by year.
 Alternative Tbilisi through Georgian photographer Bibliotekari's camera
Time will pass and after decades we might recall today’s Tbilisi like we evoke Soviet Tbilisi in our memory when looking at old photos of the 70s.
United Nations headquarters to host presentation of Georgian author Shota Rustaveli stamp
This year marks the 100th anniversary of the declaration of the Democratic Republic of Georgia, and there are many interesting events planned
The Guardian gives an insight intoTbilisi's creative boom
Tbilisi, Georgia’s beautiful capital is often spotlighted by the leading international media due to its cultural revolution and quick development.
Georgian actor Merab Ninidze appears in the 7 th season of Homeland
Celebrated and internationally famous Georgian actor Merab Ninidze stars in the seventh season of the popular American TV series
Iconic Georgian actress Leila Abashidze passes away at the age of 88
Legendary Georgian artists Leila Abashidze passed away aged 88 on April 8. The actress was placed in the hospital with brain ischemic insult diagnosis few months earlier.
Georgian authors named among the world’s greatest poets on ranker.com
Who is the greatest poet of all time? Famous American website ranker. com is conducting the survey to reveal it.
American rock group Imagine Dragons to perform in Georgia in September
Imagine Dragons, popular American rock band from Las Vegas, Nevada, will hold concert in Georgia.
Led Zeppelin’s Robert Plant to perform in Georgia on July 19, this summer
Yes, this is true! Robert Plant, lead singer of Legendary British rock group Led Zeppelin will visit Georgia this summer.
Historic artwork of Zdanevich Brothers destroyed in Tbilisi
The unique painting of Zdanevich Brothers in an old cellar located in one of the shopping spaces
Elton John confirms he is preparing to hold concerts in Georgia
British pop and rock star, singer and composer Sir Elton John is preparing to hold two concerts in Georgia.
The Calvert Journal: Meet the women at the forefront of new Georgian cinema
Nowadays, Georgian cinema is reaching new heights and gaining international success
Georgian author’s novel to be pitched at Cannes Film Festival book section
Award-winning author Aka Morchiladze is the first Georgian writer whose work will be pitched
Georgian director's My Happy Family among the best films screened on Netflix in 2017
IndieWire, a popular film industry and review website, named Georgia’s latest and one of the most successful films
Georgian Film Horizon’s World Premiere at the 2018 Berlinale
Georgian film and directors are reaching new heights, proven by the number of Georgian movies being featured and screened
Renowned German painter’s artworks depicting 19th century Georgia on display at Art Palace
Art enthusiasts can enjoy classical works depicting 19th century Georgian landscapes,
First official video-clip by Georgian winner of Voice of Germany released
Georgian singer Natia Todua, the winner of 2017 Voice of Germany,
Georgian contemporary artist’s works showcased on Google Arts and Culture platform
Tamara Kvesitadze is the first contemporary Georgian artist whose virtual exhibition is now featured
Emerging Georgian actor awarded European Shooting Stars prize at Berlinale
On February 19, 10 best emerging actors from Europe were awarded at the 68th annual Berlin International Film Festival.
How traditional Georgian costume Chocka was born and developed
Chokha is national Georgian clothing
Project 12 - Petre Otskheli’s Art Brought to Life by Contemporary Georgian Artists
In relation to the 110th anniversary of Georgia’s 20th century prodigious artist Petre Otskheli, TBC Bank came up with a project named 12.
PHOTO OF THE DAY
GEL Exchange Rate
Convertor
25.05.2018
26.05.2018
USD
1
USD
2.4734
2.4805
EUR
1
EUR
2.8988
2.9044
GBP
1
GBP
3.3129
3.3087
RUB
100
RUB
4.0339
4.0050
Other Stories
The success story of Georgian musicians goes beyond the country’s borders.
Gelati Monastery, a medieval monastic complex near Kutaisi, in the Imereti region of western Georgia,
Famous Italian duo Tale Of Us comprising of two Italian artists Carmine Conte and Matteo Milleri will perform in Tbilisi, Georgia.
Georgian Prima Balerina Nino Ananiashvili will perform the main part in Romeo and Juliet
Promising Georgian actor Irakli Kvirikadze has been featured in a trailer
National Georgian Ballet Sukhishvili (also known as Sukhishvilebi) have recently presented their new program
The European Film Promotion (EFP) presented the 10 best emerging actors from Europe
It is an ancient tradition in Georgia, yet very alive.
The most festive season, New Year is coming and everyone seeks for winter fairs and markets to purchase presents and decorations for their loved ones.
My Georgian Reality is the illustration series inspired by everyday life.
GEL Exchange
USD
1
USD
2.4805
EUR
1
EUR
2.9044
GBP
1
GBP
3.3087
RUB
100
RUB
4.0050