New East Digital Archive

Meet the Instagram fashionistas of Turkmenistan

11 August 2021

Instagram account @streestyle_ashgabat shines a light on the emerging fashion scene of Turkmenistan’s capital city, Ashgabat.

Get to know the city’s influencers and fashionistas, who offer an unofficial guide to the city’s up-and-coming trends, local boutiques, and beauty salons. For the history buffs among us, the account also shares archive photos of 70s and 80s fashion from the Turkmen Soviet Socialist Republic.

One scroll through @streestyle_ashgabat will tell you that this year’s style trends include: dresses with traditional Turkmen patterns to summery, fairytale-like floral outfits, oversized cape coats, or daring biker shorts-and-blazer combos. Some users contribute their own archive photos of their parents wearing all-black outfits, retro sunglasses and oversized cardigans, proving that people in Turkmenistan have always had a flair for style.

Ashgabat local Anastasia Bernovskaya created the account a year ago, after seeing similar pages on Russian social media platform VK, and realising there was no street style equivalent in Turkmenistan. The country is known for its punitive restrictions on media. Furthermore, internet access is blocked outside the capital city, and for foreigners, visas are very hard to come by, meaning that little is known about its local culture outside of the country’s borders.

“The purpose of the project is to show people abroad that Turkmenistan has its own trends and fashionistas,” Bernovskaya, who loves to style Turkmen traditional clothes with modern outfits, told The Calvert Journal.

But the account also has a local purpose. “I hope that I can help my fellow citizens to learn about themselves, encourage them to try new things, while also showing the outside world how colourful, beautiful, and unusual our style can be,” says Bernovskaya.

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