“Our hope is to continue the tradition of making traditional Ikat clothes and pass it on to the future.” -- Muhayo Aliyeva, Bibi Hanum Founder
Mukhayo Aliyeva is the founder of Bibi Hanum, a small business in Uzbekistan that employs more than 40 artisans, mainly women. She founded the business to revive and renew interest in the craft of making traditional Uzbek clothing.
In the 20th Century, this traditional art form was almost lost due to government policies, but since the early 1990s, Ikat has been revived in a very important way as a positive symbol of Uzbek identity. The main mission of Bibi Hanum is to support women and preserve cultural heritage. Mukyaho’s passion for clothing began at a young age, watching her sister attend tailoring school. This gave her an opportunity to have hands-on experience learning how to stitch beside her. She fell in love with traditional Uzbek clothing and textiles, and for years she researched old photographs and looked through museum collections to find a way to best recreate and revive the style.
Bibi Hanum creates robes, caftans, contemporary clothes and home accessories using handmade traditional silk and cotton Ikat fiber. Ikat is the Uzbek tradition of tie-dye, in which the warp of a weaving is tie-dyed to create the intricate pattern. It takes 37 steps to make traditional Ikat fabric. Once the fabric is woven, the women of Bibi Hanum sew them into beautiful garments that are all finished with care by hand, adding to their exceptional quality.