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
Kavkaz Jazz Festival presents: 22nd and 23rd of November, Tbilisi Music Forum and Showcase.
It is the first year for Tbilisi Music Forum and Showcase. Main goal of the event is development of music industry in Georgia and South Caucasus region.
Sam Raan Spa-Center named Best Spa in Europe
The Sam Raan Spa-Center has been named the Best Spa in Europe at the annual Haute Grandeur Global Spa Awards 2019 and won the following nominations:
Region’s Largest Startup Event to be Held in Tbilisi
On November 8-10, 2019, regional Startup Grind event will be held in Tbilisi.
Georgian royal family introduces new wine brand "Prince Ioane Bagrationi"
Member of the Georgian royal family Prince Ioane Bagrationi introduced the society new wine brand named after him - "Prince Ioane Bagrationi".
Georgia Celebrates Day of Svetitskhoveli Cathedral today

The day of Mtskheta city and Svetitskhoveli Cathedral is celebrated on 14 October in Georgia.

Georgian Wine Festival 2019 to be held on October 12 on the Shardeni street
Those who are interested and want to know more about Georgian wine can attend Georgian Wine Festival 2019 on October 12 on the Shardeni street. Event starts at 12 pm and lasts till 7 pm.
UNESCO names Tbilisi as Capital of World Book 2021
UNESCO has named Tbilisi as the Capital of the World Book 2021.
Robot Mzia’s preparation for First global – she plays basketball and does pull ups
After the famous robot Vano, Robot Mzia is preparing for the international competition “First Global.”
What comes after Frankfurt? Paris!
The year following the appearance as guest of honour at the Frankfurt Book Fair is known as a difficult one. What are the strategies of Georgian publishers for 2019?
Georgia has its first photography museum
With the Tbilisi Photography & Multimedia Museum (TPMM) Georgia has its first institution entirely dedicated to the contemporary image in its different forms – photography, new media, and video.
„The eighth life“ has arrived home
More than 100'000 Germans have already read it, the Dutch and Polish as well. But it was only last May that Nino Haratischwili's “The eighth life for Brilka” was translated for Georgian readers.
“We will fight for Georgian literature”
One year after Georgia’s well received appearance at the Frankfurt Book Fair, the organizational mastermind, Medea Metreveli, lost her job. Now she's coming up with a new project.
Los Angeles Times about Khatia Buniatishvili – “A genuine musical personality”
Los Angeles Times has recently reviewed the Los Angeles Philharmonic celebration at the Hollywood Bowl marking Gustavo Dudamel’s 10 years with the orchestra.
Important facts about Georgian painter Elene Akhvlediani
Elene Akhvlediani was one of the first recognized female painters in Georgia.
Georgian soprano to perform in a play directed by Woody Allen
Georgian soprano Tsisana Giorgadze will perform in a play directed by Woody Allen.
Georgian Cinematographer Becomes a Member of Motion Picture Academy
Giorgi Shvelidze, Georgian cinematographer has been selected as a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Georgian Shilda winery announced winner of  the EU Sustainable Energy Award for Eastern Partnership
The European Union has announced the winner of the EU Sustainable Energy Award for the Eastern partnership at the Awards Ceremony in Brussels on 18 June.
15 years of creating opportunity for journalists - BP and British Council in Georgia offer English Language Courses for members of the Georgian Media
BP initiated media development program has trained more than 400 representatives on print, broadcast and online media in English language in Georgia.
What Georgian Pirosmani and Spanish Picasso have in common
Niko Pirosmani was a Georgian primitivist painter.
New York City's largest mural features Gurian Horseman
The largest mural in New York City was unveiled last year.
Three songs to know more about Georgian music
Georgia boasts about its rich traditional music.
Georgian – shop for tourists
The largest book shop in Georgia ,,Biblusi’’ has opened the first shop specially designated to the needs and interests of tourists and named it ,,Georgian’’.
SAVE THE DATE! At the 4th Tourism and Hospitality Conference within  Welcome to Georgia! National Tourism Awards
On June 18, the 4th Tourism and Hospitality Conference within Welcome to Georgia! National Tourism Awards will take place at the Radisson Blu Iveria Hotel, Tbilisi.
Conference dedicated to the State Language held in Georgia
"On the 31st of May, in Rooms Hotel Tbilisi, a conference "State Language for Integration and Development of Human Capital in Georgia" was held."
Anita Rachvelishvili among 10 performers of the Met Opera
Anita Rachvelishvili, a Georgian mezzo-soprano, was recently named among Top 10 Performances By Singers From The Metropolitan Opera’s 2018-19 Season.
PHOTO OF THE DAY
GEL Exchange Rate
Convertor
08.12.2019
09.12.2019
USD
1
USD
2.9466
2.9466
EUR
1
EUR
3.2690
3.2690
GBP
1
GBP
3.8683
3.8683
RUB
100
RUB
4.6218
4.6218