Plain Tiger Spotlight: ALEKSANDRA VIKTOR

From a loom in Uzbekistan

By Renee Fortune

Uzbekistan is a landlocked country in Central Asia, famous for its historic cities, awe-inspiring oriental architecture and ancient landmarks along what was once called the Silk Road. It’s also a country famous for being a major producer and exporter of cotton. Its rich history in textile production is rivaled only by the artwork that adorns traditional Uzbek clothing. 

For centuries, families of mastercrafters have tirelessly honed the art of ikat – a textile dyeing technique that dates back to the Neolithic period. Ikat weaving involves binding the textile and creating bundles of fabric, bound in a tight wrapping. Dye is then applied in different stages to create patterns which take shape once the fabric is unwound. 

Aleksandra Jagdfeld had the privilege of visiting Uzbekistan and witnessing this craft first-hand. She also discovered a traditional piece of clothing worn by Uzebeks – outerwear called a chapan. These garments take a variety of forms, the most popular of which are jackets and capes. Traditionally these pieces are worn by men, and were first worn by nomadic groups throughout Asia. As the kind of fashion most typically seen on men riding horses, the chapan fast became a symbol of action but also one of sporting leisure. Intricately adorned with fine detailing and made using the most decadent fabrics, these garments were often layered to create colourful, wearable tapestries. 
The versatility of these jackets was something that inspired Aleksandra to add a contemporary spin on a traditional classic and bring Uzbek culture to the world; starting with the quintessential coat. 

After her trip to Uzbekistan, Aleksandra set out to create the first batch of chapans, bringing in her love of colour and weaving in references to ancient history, with a silhouette designed to elevate any outfit. The result was nine flagship coats, handcrafted and woven in Uzbekistan by local artisans. Aleksandra’s creative mission has always been firmly rooted in leaving no one behind in the pursuit of progress. Through her brand, ALEKSANDRA VIKTOR (named after her son), she has been able to further this commitment, supporting local manufactories and contributing to the discourse on slower, more ethical fashion.

As you’ll see when you browse the collection, the first nine designs are varied in character. There’s something for those who like to tone things right down to a dual colourway, but there’s also something for the more extravagant among us, who aren’t afraid to take things a step further. 

Each chapan is made from cotton and has a super soft silk lining. The dyes used for each piece are natural and chosen for their low environmental impact. To buy a chapan from ALEKSANDRA VIKTOR is to buy an heirloom that is woven to last for a lifetime – and then some. It’s the kind of piece you need for that capsule wardrobe you’re building. Because trust us, you won’t find anything more versatile. These coats can literally work just as perfectly with a jeans and tee combo as they would with a red carpet look. 

For Aleksandra, the process of building her brand has required laser focus. So she decided to start with creating one piece and doing it brilliantly. Over time, the range has extended to include pillow covers, but the chapans will always be the heroes of the range. Her process is a reflection of a broader philosophy that encourages lovers of fashion to choose their garments wisely, thoughtfully and with intention. Each piece brings with it a different dynamic. In inspiring her customers to consider each piece they add to their wardrobe, Aleksandra hopes to communicate the fact that fashion is not a superficial undertaking. Instead, our clothes should represent a part of who we are as well as the generations that have gone before us. 

By bringing the fruits of the loom to a wider global audience, she hopes to put the spotlight on the immense talent that has been reawakened by sustainable fashion brands, and their ability to uplift and empower local communities. 

Some people dress from the top down. Some people start with their shoes. When you own a piece by ALEKSANDRA VIKTOR, you’ll start with the coat – every time.