The Kurdish Fashion Boutique is located in the German city of Essen. Photos: kurdish_fashion_boutique IG
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Two women from Erbil are running a store that sells dresses in Germany, making it possible for people to buy modern and traditional Kurdish clothing far away from Kurdistan.
"We studied design and wanted to invest our gained skills into Kurdish dresses,” Kurdish Fashion Boutique’s founders who are cousins, explained to Rudaw English via email. “Once a wedding came up and we didn’t have any Kurdish dresses or any fabric, and we weren’t the only ones with this problem.”
The entrepreneurs, Dilmand Mahmood and Delwin Sharif, established an online shop and followed with their own brick-and-mortar store in Essen in 2016.
Their store only sells Kurdish dresses and their requisite accessories like belts and shawls.
“We design, produce and sell our products in our shop,” they pointed out.
A model wears one of the Kurdish boutique's custom-made dresses.
The customers are mainly Kurdish people, although the founders say that German people are starting to visit more, as they see their Kurdish friends wearing the dresses.
The custom-made dresses cost between 100 and 700 Euros because founders are aiming to show the world the Kurdish dresses in the highest-possible quality fabrics.
“Our fabrics mainly come from Dubai and London,” the founders explained. “Because it’s important to us that our clients only get high-quality fabrics, we go there and choose them ourselves.”
The shop operates with 4 or 5 employees, who are all Kurds.
Without much of a supply of Kurdish clothing shops in Europe, many Kurds in diaspora sew their own dresses for traditional events like weddings, Newroz (Kurdish New Year) and other special occasions.
Mahmood and Sharif moved to Europe about 20 years ago.
About 1.5 percent (700,000 people) of Germany’s citizens in 2015 was ethnically Kurdish according to the Kurdish Community of Germany.
Kurds lacking their own state and an ethnic minority primarily in Turkey, Iraq, Syria and Iran, have immigrated to Germany in various waves — most recently because of instability in Syria since 2011.
The store also sells accessories.