When most people think of Iraq, they are plagued by visions of war and violence, but this group of young, progressive Kurdish men is working to change that stereotype through fashion.
Mr. Erbil, a ‘fashion club’ founded by a forward-thinking group of young Kurdish gentlemen, was born less than an hour by car from the war-torn streets of Mosul in Northern Iraq, but no one could guess that judging from their photos. Their social media pages are brimming with style and glamour, with photos of the handsome men looking runway-ready in their chic, tailored attire.
The goal of the club is to show the world another side to Iraq – one of culture, compassion and style as opposed to violence and oppression – and the dapper gents behind the group are doing an incredible job of making this vision happen.
From showcasing unique Iraqi textiles and handicrafts, including information on their history and how they are made via their almost 38,000-fan strong Facebook page to promoting Iraqi female entrepreneurs with their ‘Women’s Inspiration’ feature on their 90,000+ followed Instagram account, the fellas are pushing for real change and doing so in the most relevant millennial way – blogging.
Their features on Kurdish and Iraqi artists and business owners put real faces to a people that the western world is too used to seeing strictly through a lens of war and unrest. The posts about inspirational women in particular are a wonderful reminder absent from the press that many Iraqis are pro-women and want to do the work to support their rise in society.
The group is branching out into design as well, with a line of beautiful,Iraqi-made, hand-crafted ties which come presented in handmade wooden boxes. The ties themselves are made from a goat’s fur fabric called krr, which is also unique to the region, hence again an example of the collective sharing the lesser known aspects of their culture with the global community.
‘We believe fashion can make a difference,’ the group told Vogue, ‘because you can portray your image as you wish in society, which gives a sense of freedom to individuals to express themselves.’ These gentlemen are truly inspirational and exactly what the world needs to begin to see positive change.