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
The Fourth Official Ceremony of the Welcome to Georgia! National Tourism Awards
On December 3, 2018 Rustaveli Theatre will host the most remarkable event of the Tourism and Hospitality industry of Georgia
Mtatsminda Panthenon – a necropolis of great Georgians
Mtatsminda Pantheon is a necropolis in Tbilisi, Georgia.
The portrait of the Georgian King Teimuraz II returns to Homeland
The portrait of the King Teimuraz II belongs to the collection of Bagrationi Dynasty
Georgian song Suliko performed at the Frankfurt Buchmesse 2018
Georgia was granted an incredible title this year.
Representatives of Georgian wine companies assess Georgian Wine Festival 2018
Georgian Wine Festival 2018 gives unique possibility to around 50 companies to present their wine to hundreds of Georgians and tourists.
Representatives of the government attend Georgian Wine Festival 2018
“Georgian Wine Festival 2018 is a celebration of a successful Rtveli (vintage)” – says minister of Environment and Natural Resources Protection of Georgia Levan Davitashvili.
Tourists speak about Georgian wine at the Georgian Wine Festival 2018
Georgian Wine Festival 2018 has been going on for several hours already on the Shardeni Street in Tbilisi.
Georgian Wine Festival 2018 kicks off on the 13th of October
Actors from the Motion theatre, drummers, fire show, Georgian folklore and the most important – Georgian wine – this is a short list of activities available at the Georgian Wine Festival
Khatia Buniatishvili opens the Frankfurt Book Fair
On the 9th of October, The Frankfurt Book Fair officially commenced.
Palitra L to be presented at the Frankfurt Book Fair
This year Georgia has an incredible opportunity to introduce its culture, history and cuisine to the world.
Tbilisoba 2018 in photos
Tbilisoba is an annual festival held on the last weekend of October but this year it takes place on the first weekend of October.
Schedule for the Tbilisoba 2018
Tbilisoba 2018 will start today, on the 6th of October and last until the 7th of October.
Tbilisoba 2018 to be celebrated in Moscow
Tbilisoba is an annual festival held on the last weekend of October but this year it takes place on the first weekend of October.
Georgian alphabet in the metro of Frankfurt
Frankfurt U-Bahn has been decorated with the posters of Georgian alphabet.
A crucial year for fighting climate change: The EU steps up international cooperation on Paris Agreement implementation
The scale of the climate challenges we face today and in the future is clear.
Extraordinary photography – Gigo Gabashvili
Gigo Gabashvili was a Georgian painter and photographer (1862-1936).
Georgian dance Davluri
There are different varieties of the Georgian dance.
Georgia as Guest of Honour at the Frankfurt Book Fair
The Frankfurt Book Fair is the world’s biggest book fair.
Katie Melua Performs in Georgia on her own birthday
On the 16th of September, Georgia hosted the Georgian born British singer Katie Melua in European Square, Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia.
Khatia Buniatishvili performs in Georgia
On the 15th of September, Khatia Buniatishvili performed with the Tbilisi Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Vakhtang Kakhidze at the Djansug Kakhidze Tbilisi Center for Music & Culture
Georgian pianist Nicolas Namoradze wins Honens 2018
The Georgian pianist Nicolas Namoradze has become a Honens Prize Laureate. The Honens Piano Competition takes place every three years.
Katie Melua to give a concert in Georgia
Katie Melua, the Georgian-British singer and songwriter, will perform in Georgia. The concert will take place at 21:0 in Europe square on 16th of September, Tbilisi.
Mikhail Baryshnikov to perform in Georgia
The Latvian born Russian / American ballet dancer and actor Mikhail Baryshnikov has arrived in Georgia.
A dance with daggers performed by the Sukhishvili Georgian National Ballet
The Sukhishvili Georgian National Ballet perform the dance called Khanjluri, or a dance with daggers.
Sno – Georgian dance performed by the Sukhishvili Georgian National Ballet
Previously we have published the Georgian dance – very traditional and one of the oldest in the history of Sukhishvili Georgian National Ballet.
PHOTO OF THE DAY
Exchange Rates
GEL Exchange Rate
Convertor
17.11.2018
18.11.2018
USD
1
USD
2.6727
2.6727
EUR
1
EUR
3.0268
3.0268
GBP
1
GBP
3.4240
3.4240
RUB
100
RUB
4.0447
4.0447