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Kurdish Iraqi woman designs clothing for the stars

By Darbaz Younis 11/7/2017
Zeena Zaka designs Kurdish and Iraqi clothes as well as those from other cultures. Photos: Furnished
Zeena Zaka designs Kurdish and Iraqi clothes as well as those from other cultures. Photos: Furnished

A blossoming Middle Eastern clothing designer whose Kurdish mother is from Erbil and Arab father is from Iraq has gained popularity worldwide. She has designed clothes for many Arab stars like Durra, Elham Shahin, Shirin Abdulwahab, Yusra and tens of other stars including some in Hollywood like Eva Longoria and Kris Jenner, the mother of Kim Kardashian. 

Zeena Zaki designs draw inspiriation from many cultures, including Kurdish and Iraqi. She spoke to Rudaw's Darbaz Younis by telephone from Amman, Jordan.

Rudaw: In your latest activity, you designed clothes for some Ukrainian models. How was that? 

Zina Zaki:
In all the designs I did for the beautiful women in the world, the color of the women or their country of origin wasn’t important to me. This is my message in my work. Humans are beautiful, strong, wise and born free. The latest work was very attractive. The designs were different and attractive to me.  

You designed the clothing of most Arab stars who participated in the recent international film festival in Dubai, right? 

Yes, sure. I designed the clothing of most stars, some of whom were selected to receive the title of the most beautiful appearance and nicest dress which they wore in the event. I thank all these stars for choosing me out of the designers out there in the world. 

Can you mention the names of the stars who have worn your design? 

Very many of them… the clothing of Durra and Shirin Abdulwahab outside the festival. I don’t remember all the names at the moment. The clothing of many stars. You can see them on my Instagram page [@zeenazaki]. I have put the photos there. 


Fashionista Zeena Zaki showcases her work.

Have you designed clothes for Hollywood stars? 

Yes, for Eva Longoria, Kris Jenner, mother of Kim Kardashian and many others.  

Who are the stars for whom you will be designing clothes in the future? 

My most important project in the future is to expand my work to the entire world. I have worked for most Arab and Middle Eastern stars, including some international stars. That is why I want to turn my work global. Now is the time for me to be in Paris, Rome and all the other places.

Is it true your mother is a Kurd? Which part of Kurdistan does she come from? 

My mother always says she is from Erbil. 

Do you intend to visit Kurdistan? 

Yes, certainly. I would like to very much. I have the intention to visit there and see the people of Kurdistan. 

As a Kurdish Iraqi designer, what is your message to the Kurdish designers and models? How do you think they can develop their potential? 

I will be trying to tell them about my own story because every designer has a success story. I was a young girl 16 years ago and had only dreams which have now turned into reality. I made it possible for this to happen. There is nothing impossible if you have dreams. All international designers, like the French and Lebanese, do the same thing. 

Have you thought about opening a design, fashion and modeling school in Kurdistan? 

I have many dreams. I think you can do things when the timing is right. But you cannot do everything together. I am slow in my work. I don’t rush. I take steps slowly, but always put my feet in the right place. I don’t want to make mistakes or fail. I may open schools in the whole world one day. The school might be in Kurdistan, why not? 

What are your thoughts and memories of Kurdistan?

Yes, sure. I have good information about Kurdistan. But let me tell you a truth, the last time I visited Kurdistan I was only 15. I wasn’t a fashion designer back then. When I was there in Kurdistan, it was a very nice place, breathtaking nature. I said to myself at the time that I had to visit this place again. The nature and peoples’ lifestyle was nice. I thought the simplicity of the people was nice too. Everything caught my attention. So yes, I will be visiting Kurdistan again. 


BB | 12/7/2017
What Kurd are you when you haven't visited Kurdistan in 15 Years?
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