Kurdish Dandies Start Iraq’s First Fashion Club
It’s not just about bringing fashion to Iraq. For these Kurdish peacocks it’s also about promoting a positive image of their homeland to the world. In early February 2016, a group of young men gathered in the ancient citadel at the heart of Erbil, the capital of Iraq’s autonomous Kurdistan Region. It was deep into the second winter of the Kurds’ war against the Islamic State and the region was mired in economic crisis. As a result, restoration work on the ancient UNESCO-listed site — said to be one of the oldest continuously inhabited places in the world — had ground to a halt, leaving the citadel with the air of an abandoned film set.
Against this backdrop, 22 of the city’s finest dressed men gathered. Like an ostentation of peacocks they preened and posed, showing off their finery and taking innumerable selfies. At this first meeting of sartorial minds it was decided: with jobs limited, few opportunities and precious little else going on, why not be the best damn dandies they could be? From this not so humble start, Mr. Erbil — Iraq’s first gentleman’s fashion club — was born.