“Kazakh nomads were a great and smart nation. Our ancestors were very hardy, tough and strong as they had to travel around our deserts and withstand all kinds of weather and other unpredictable circumstances” – Kazakhs would say, these are the kind of stories I grew up on. Every teacher in Kazakhstan is teaching that in school and every parent tells these stories to their kids. I was always very proud of my heritage and of what Kazakhs used to represent. Traveling around the world, moving from one country to another and exploring different cultures: I would say that it is in my nature, due to my nomadic background. I do not need to move but I love it - exploring new traditions and learning about other people’s origins. For me, it is a form of self-education and entertainment. Of course, it was not the case for Kazakh nomads, as they were traveling out of necessity. For them, it was a way of surviving. They had to be creative and innovative to adapt to the harsh environment around them. “Negizine Oralu” means back to origins in the Kazakh language, as the collection brings the user back to the artistic background of my ancestors, while also embracing the needs of modern society.
Living in a fast pace environment, people often forget about their origins. They look for simpler and more convenient solutions, choosing comfort over beauty and elegance. The “Negizine Oralu” collection combines elegance and comfort. It is going into the deep exploration journey of Kazakh nomadic culture bringing it to a very modern world. Being nomads, Kazakh people were traveling around the country, with their cattle, as the main source of food and clothes. Being close to nature also influenced their beliefs, as they were deifying nature, which affected their craftsmanship and visual art. They were finding the divine and the sacred in the nature around them, constantly following the traditions and superstitions, which were carried to the modern world. Beautiful Kazakh culture and history are one of our main sources of pride, and I want my project to convey the love and respect that I have for my culture while embracing the needs of modern society towards comfort and convenience.
Ailin Seijanova is currently the Co-Founder and Chief Design Officer of Seijanova LLC, a start-up company focused on sustainable hand-crafted accessories. She recently graduated from Parsons School of Design with a degree in BFA Fashion Design and has experience interning with several fashion companies. She designed bags and small leather goods and created tech packs for factories. She also designed activewear and created custom-made costumes for dancers on her final thesis project. For this project, Ailin returned to her cultural roots for inspiration, bringing back Kazakh craftsmanship and technical practices to modern Western society. The combination of entrepreneurial spirit from her internships and creative process explored in her thesis paved the way for Ailin to establish Seijanova.