Before and after: Modern people try on a traditional Caucasian costume

Maria Mussova
One of the ethnic groups of the Russian Caucasus has a very interesting traditional outfit - and modern people look very different wearing it - even making their backs more straight!

Russian photographer Maria Mussova made an interesting experiment taking photos of ordinary Circassian, Adyghe and Kabardian people in their everyday wear - and then in traditional national clothing. She called the series of photos ‘Reflection’. And her aim was to reflect how the traditional costume influences the look and behavior of the 21st century people. She asked every participant how they felt in their new outfits. Spoiler: most of them pointed out that they felt more like themselves than ever before!

1. Azamat, 35, a businessman

“This was the way we dressed in our best times, when everyone looked up to us. I am walking straight and honorable. This costume emphasizes my nature!” 

2. Alan, 29, a businessman

“I feel more responsible this way. I feel I have to transmit this way of thinking to the new generation. This costume reveals my very essence.”

3. Asiyat, 20, a choreographer

“I feel this is a part of my culture and I can attract people’s interest with my example. Pity, we don’t dress like this anymore. But now we can try to turn it back into our everyday life!”

4. Astemir, 24, a journalist

“Putting on this costume, I feel strong ties with my ancestors. I feel very at ease this way. For me it’s a way to explore myself.”

5. Dana, 22, a student

“I feel very calm and comfortable. Peacefulness and responsibility at the same time. I understand who I am and the costume displays my inner self.”

6. Marianna, 23, an economist

“I feel very confident and light. This dress is a reflection of aristocratism for me. It’s a feeling of ease and pride and at the same time that it’s all very much me.”

7. Murat, 35, a visual designer

“This costume helped me find myself. And since then it doesn’t matter for me which clothes I wear everyday. I don’t want this costume to disappear from our lives.”

8. Liana, 22, an economist

“I feel like I am a part of history. I want to carry my back straight and look only forward. The certainty and clarity of thought appeared. Together with the dress I want to transmit this feels like to the next generations.”

9. Lina, 24, a historian

“What do I feel? An inner calmness and harmony. An accessory to something special. A sense of the ground under my feet.”

10. Ilyas, 25, a dentist

“I feel my back becoming more straight, and I look more than a true Adyghe. I wish I could wear these clothes more often and people respected it more and expressed more interest.”

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