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"Beautiful as flowers, elegant as the streams, powerful as the Sun"
— Old Kozzakhi proverb used for describing this costume
  Sukienka (сукенка, literally dress) is the name of one of the traditional costumes that can be found in Moskova. It is a female outfit that used to be worn for ceremonial purposes in the Kozzakhi community.   Its design is more intricated than the casual female Kozzakhi fashion.  



The outfit is composed by several pieces:
  • The main one is a long two layer dress, usually the external one is made of silk while the inner one is made of cotton. Both layers are sewed to each other in the top of the dress and waist, but in the skirt they are able to move independiently. The dress got delicate and intricate designs on its fabric. It is tightened at the waist by a long lace/belt. The dress's sleeves are very long and are wide on their extremes.
  • Below the dress, the top body is covered by a collared shirt made of cotton and decorated with embroidery, like the one that's usually worn in the casual outfit. Also, the bottom body got covered by middle long pants below the dress' skirt.
  • Over the dress, there goes a small waistcoat decorated in a similar way to the dress, matching its color as well.
  • The shoes usually worn are winter boots or leather boots, depending on the weather.
  • Women can wear a long military style woolen or fur coat over the costume.
  • The hairdresses are similar to the normal hat worn by Kozzakhi women, which is a hat attached to a veil made of velvet or tulle. The few differences towards the casual hat is are basically the colors (the ceremonial hats can vary more in colors and get patterns matching with the dress' designg, contrasting to the single colored fur hats) and the length of the veil (the ceremonial veil is way longer than the normal veil).
by Gege16

Materials used and their functionality

The materials used for manufacturing the costume aren't chosed randomly.   Cotton is used because it is a soft fabric, easy to obtain thanks to commerce. Cotton, combined with fur and wool provides a thermal protection against the rough cold of Moskova's winter. Silk, although it is imported from abroad and can be more expensive than other fabrics is chosen because of its delicate appeal, its soft texture and its shine.



  The most common patterns on the clothes used for this outfit can be divided in several types and them are worn depending on the occasion:  

by Gege16 using PicsArt

  • Floral themed patterns: Those patterns depict stylized flowers and plants. Flowers represent beauty and fertility so floral patterns are mostly worn in nature-themed festivities such as the Spring equinox.
  • Abstract patterns: Them mostly depict circles and other geometrical shapes, curved lines and intricate designs. Abstract patterns can be worn by the women of a clan during a wedding and also are the ones worn by unmarried girls during important events.
  • Astronomical themed patterns: Them depict stars, suns, moons and related images. Them are worn during events dedicated to the Stars.


There are different colors available for the costume but them are a distinctive of each Clan/tribe. In most documents, there are twelve original tribes/clans mentioned:
  • Dark Green: Vologda Clan.
  • Red: Tula Clan.
  • Yellow: Thaiki Clan.
  • Blue: Ugur Clan.
  • Pink: Dague Clan.
  • Orange: Timur Clan.
  • Purple: Kuban Clan.
  • Light blue: Sibirsk Clan.
  • Brown: Zharkhov Clan.
  • Aqua green: Makhkala Clan.
  • Black: Khevzu Clan.
  • Light orange "peach": Almatiev Clan.

Sukienka dress color variations by Gege16

  The color white does not represent any specific clan, but is reserved for the bride of any clan at her wedding, as white represents, among other things, peace and purity. Another curious point related to the symbolical meaning of the white costume is that, since weddings between members of different clans are well seen, each part of the relationship wearing a white outfit represents the unity of both clans and its colors, because when all the colors from the light spectrum unite, the result is white light.

Historical evolution

The appearance and elements of the Sukienka costume has changed over history according to the women's role in Kozzakhi society as well as the availability of its materials and the contact with other cultures. The oldest records of its existence can be traced down to the seventh century, while it began to be linked to Kozzakhi around the ninth century, when Kozzakhi began to consider themselves a sole ethnicity.   The oldest depictions of this dress show a more conservative design, as the headress is basically a long headscarf which is coiled around the wearer's neck which covers most of her top body. The top of the dress used to cover completely the shirt beneath it.The skirt used to be tighter, making it a costume that could be worn for elegant dancing but not really good for doing activities that required more complex or violent movements such as horse riding or acrobatic dancing. Silk wasn't a material used in the earlier versions of the costume, which was made of wool and cotton, and used to have a more modest look, colored with opaquer and darker tones.   When women began to proggresively have a bigger involvement in activities more associated to men in ceremonies and events, the physiognomy of the costume began to change over the time in order to adapt to the new lifestyle. The pants below the skirt were incorporated and the headscarf decreased its weight and width. The skirt began to be lesser tightened to the body, but it is still being tight at the waist. The top of the dress could begin to be shown without covering, as well as the shirt beneath.   It is believed that the silk,linen, as well as the intricated golden embroidery, was incorporated to the design of the costume thanks to the commercial exchange with other peoples like Khazans. The commercial exchanges also allowed to increase the variety of the pigments used, making the fabric's colors brighter, as well each clan began to define their own color as a trademark. Another addition from surrounding cultures was the vest, one of the most recognizable elements of the costume.   Around the tenth century, women's headdresses became almost identical to men's hats, with the exception of the veil attached to them. In the case of the ceremonial veils, they kept the original length and thanks to the acquired of new kinds of pigments and threads, both veils and hats could get colored fitting the dress' color scheme as well getting new patterns.
"Just look at how the ceremonial dress evolved and you'll understand how our society evolved"
— A Kozzakhi Hetman (tribe chief) talking about the role of women


The design of the costume originally got several symbolical meanings related to several topics. Nature has been an inspiration for the vests, as the long sleeves represent the flowing rivers while the long skirt of the dress represents the flowing wind. The golden embroidery symbolizes sunlight, class and strength, while the pattern of the design itself and each color  can have different meanings, as it was stated  in previous sections of this article.   The Sukienka is also one of the outfits used when depicting the most powerful Stars in their humanoid form in art pieces, craft and books, alongside the Sarafan. Due to this, the costume itself can be considered linked to them, but this connection is stronger when its fabric got an astronomical pattern, specific for rituals and festivals dedicated to those supernatural beings.     The fact that the women can wear the same kind of coat as men over their femenine vests is one of the manners that show that Kozzakhi are a more egalitarian society contrasting to surrounding cultures. Another point related to this is the fact that the dress allows a big variety of movements for its wearer, showing their involvement in many different activities that in most cultures are associated just with men, such as acrobatical horseriding.

by Gege16


Place of origin

Item type
Clothing / Accessory
Related ethnicities
When Kozzakhi used to be independent this outfit was seen more often, but since these peoples got subdued and their traditions began to be backlashed by the central government due the influence of the "Prince", it became rarer.    Many of its public appearances in the Capital are more related to circus-alike dance performances for money on the street than to its original significance (situation that make some people see it with bad eyes).    While  in some places it was even forbidden to wear in public and most people can't remember it's original purpose, in places  located further from the Capital and its influence, there is more freedom to wear this outfit.,
Raw materials & Components
Silk, wool, fur, linen, cotton, golden and silver thread.

Sukienka 's role in dancing

The costume got a important place in the traditional dances, as the dances are one of the most iconic features of Kozzakhi culture. Female dance steps are expected to be elegant and soft but them can still have some acrobatic elements, contrasting to other cultures that reserve this kind of steps just for men.   Despite the outfit having many pieces and looking kinda heavy, the cloths used are actually pretty light, making the movement easy. The long sleeves can create a hypnotic effect when the dancers synchronize the wavy moves of their arms.   Fast spining is a very common element in Kozzakhi traditional dances, so are the flight of long skirts and dresses. Also, the long dress can be used for creating the visual illusion of "floating" while moving through the dance floor.   The pants below the dress' skirt allows the dancer to jump, squat, open up her legs and riding horses without feeling uncomfortable .

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Cover image: Sunrise at Sentinel Mountains by Gege16


Author's Notes

This article was written for  The Costume Challenge   The look of this outfit was inspired by the amazing traditional clothings from the Circassian (Adyghe) peoples, Crimean Tatars, Cossacks and other surronding cultures, while all the information comes off from my imagination.

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3 May, 2021 18:35

I enjoyed reading this article thoroughly! I always love stories and worlds where women have a bit more freedom than is usually allotted to them in the past of our own world. So great job!

~TimeBender~ Attempting to become a jack of all trades with a variety of hobbies that interest me!
Gege Escriva
4 May, 2021 00:53

Thank you so much for reading! I'm appreciate you like it! ♡ And I agree, I like a lot it as well, so always try to add that twist to my work :D

5 May, 2021 05:42

I like the little sketch, and the three texture samples you made. And the assignment of the different colors to the clans. :))

Gege Escriva
5 May, 2021 17:02

Thank you a lot!! I appreciate you like it! :D ♡☆

5 May, 2021 16:08

I love the sketches you've made of the outfit and the music used. You've put so much thought into this already, even if you say it's still going to be updated over time. I think my favourite thing is the head-dresses. :D

Gege Escriva
5 May, 2021 17:04

Aww thank you so much for reading and as always, for your nice words! I appreciate you like it! I had fun while making the art and writing :) Hehe thanks! ♡

15 May, 2021 20:13

Apparently I forgot to like this! Shaaaame! D:

Eternal Sage AmélieIS
Amélie I. S. Debruyne
6 May, 2021 12:46

This is a very nice dress, great drawings :D I love the links with the dancing.   I'm wondering if the layers of the dress are sewn together in to make one cloth or if it's wearing two dress on top of each other?   Is everyone assigned a clan and has to wear only that colour or is their more freedom about it now? What if someone doesn't know their clan?

To see what I am up to, see the list of my Summer Camp articles—my favourite is Sentient Cells.
Gege Escriva
6 May, 2021 14:42

Thank you so much for reading! I really appreciate you like it ♡ :) About the layers, they are sewed on the top of the dress and the waist , but in the skirt they can move independently. About the clans, since its been a few time since they got subdued by the Kingdom in the novel timeline (around 7 years) the former members (mainly the adults) are still knowing about to which clan they belonged before the diaspora (and which color corresponds to them). However, the problem may begin with the following generations since the Kingdom 's current rules aren't too nice to them :( The colors are a traditional way to distinguish between them, but who knows, maybe in the future people wear a color just because they like it.   Thanks for asking! Now I know what to add in the next update! :D

6 May, 2021 22:10

Very nice article! :D Even if you are still working on it, it is already feels complete and that in this short timespan :o   I especially like the patterns and how you made it into the background of your world now. Fits really well! The music was a nice addition as well to set the mood.   A shame that it is not as common as before but it does give some extra information about your world and how some cultures tend to fade out. Nice read!

Feel free to check out my River challenge article and my Secrets in the swamp Adventure article if you want to see what I am up to!
Gege Escriva
7 May, 2021 02:44

Thank you Kefkejaco for your nice words!! I had lots of fun while writing and drawing, and I'm still amazed by how the patterns turned out, I didn't do too many steps on that really and the results ended being so realistic! It is the magic of digital art and effects haha Yeah, it is such a shame, but cultures and traditions fading away is something that it is as real as sad :(

6 May, 2021 23:51

Lovely article. I like the pics and all the little details you added. The details add a lot of depth to the article. I wish I could wear this dress :)

Gege Escriva
7 May, 2021 02:46

Thank you Meu!!! I'm glad you enjoyed it! And I agree! I'd love to wear one myself :D If I had one, it would be the red (Tula's) one! But I love how all the colors turned out haha

7 May, 2021 01:17

I really love all the drawings - and I can see I'm not the only one! I'm a touch jelly that you were able to draw what you had in mind. Certainly better than anything I could put to pen / paper / tablet? Either way, I loved the information included and that the different colors are for different tribes / clans. Totally a thing that happens all over the place, so it was neat to see it reflected here.   I know this is a WIP, I just wanted to note a spelling error I found. <3

It means that it iused to be worn during important events as wedding and festivals.

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Gege Escriva
7 May, 2021 02:51

Hi!!! Thanks a lot for reading and commenting! :D I appreciate you enjoyed the read and you liked the art, i feel so flattered over all those nice comments about it♡♡.   Oh, thanks for pointing the typo out haha, my fingers can be pretty clumsy while writing using this phone's touchscreen... I wouldn't be surprised if I had typos like that all over the world's articles since i usually work on mobile xD

7 May, 2021 12:22

This is a great costume!

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Gege Escriva
7 May, 2021 20:20

Thank you a lot!! :)

7 May, 2021 13:07

Amazing article!! I really love the detail you've put on it and the real life inspirations behind the costume. The drawings are awesome too. I specially like the connections with the culture and traditions of the Kozzakhi!!. Excellent job Gege!!

Gege Escriva
7 May, 2021 20:57

Thank you very much!! I'm glad you liked it! ♡♡ Since my world is mostly inspired by Russia and Central Asia I did a research about traditional clothing from several cultures and ended up seeing too many beautiful costumes! So I wasn't just amazed and inspired by the designs, I also felt that it was necessary to give them the credit they deserve so everyone could know a bit more about them. Yes! I want to make the challenge articles feel really into the world despite them not always being about plot-relevant things :)

Grandmaster AzounIV
Luca Poddighe
10 May, 2021 23:49

I will wait for a more complete version to comment fully. For the moment I just say nice!

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Luca Poddighe
11 May, 2021 06:01

Very nice addendum the one of the white costume, very logical and fitting at the same moment!

Transform your quirks, in your strength! Join the revolution and visit Phaldorya (Eng)
Gege Escriva
11 May, 2021 21:35

Thank you! :D♡

Gege Escriva
9 Jun, 2021 15:17

It is finished now! :)

24 May, 2021 09:26

This is some really awesome work! The description of the outfit is clear and evocative, and you nicely build on it by going into the details of the various colours and what clans they represent.   I did notice a weird repetition in words in the first paragraph: "It is a female outfit that used to be worn for ceremonial purposes in the Kozzakhi community. It means that it used to be worn during important events as wedding and festivals. ", where you have used to be worn twice ^^

Author of Arda Almayed - check out my SummerCamp articles here!
Gege Escriva
25 May, 2021 01:12

Hi!! Thank you a lot for your comment, TC, I'm happy you liked it! :D And thanks a lot for the useful feedback!

6 Jun, 2021 22:12

Interesting evolution of the outfit, and a lovely history! I also adore the various colours and whatnot.   Two things I should note: First, your first paragraph seems to be partially missing? And the rarity section in the sidebar is a really long sentence.

Gege Escriva
7 Jun, 2021 02:45

Hi! I appreciate you liked it! :D The introductory paragraph is actually really short, ant thanks for noting the issue in the rarity section! I should fix it, but at first i'll wait to know if i made it into the shortlist or not for knowing if i'm allowed to change something before the challenge's stream.

7 Jun, 2021 08:22

No, I mean the words "Kozzakhi community." are missing now. As for fixing things, minor edits are allowed during this week, so you could always verify if a small language tweak is okay.

Gege Escriva
7 Jun, 2021 22:11

Ohhh i didn't notice it! Seriously, thank you a lot!! Also, thanks for clarifying about the edits! :D I'm gonna correct it right now!

7 Jun, 2021 09:26

I love this article, the detail you included is amazing. I have seen some of the traditional clothes of the Circassian people and I love the style. I look forward to seeing more of your work.

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Gege Escriva
7 Jun, 2021 16:36

Thank you a lot!! I'm happy you liked it! :3 I must confess that i loved their traditional clothes as well, and in fact it was when i discovered them that i knew what to do for the costume challenge. Them are really inspiring, i think they deserve more recognition :D