“Mater artium necessitas” – Necessity is the Mother of Inventions
This could not be more appropriate for a group who calls themselves mr. ERBIL, after the capital of the autonomous Kurdish region in northern Iraq. Iraq’s first Gentleman’s Fashion Club, mr. ERBIL, have their eyes set on Pitti Uomo – the most important International event for menswear and men accessories collections and a platform for new men fashion projects.
With more than 30 core members, sharing the same vision, 25,000+ fans on Instagram and a strong Facebook presence, mr. ERBIL offers etiquette workshops, photography lessons /workshops, a modelling agency, Rishn – Beard care range and social empowerment programs.
The young Kurds have chosen creativity as their medium of expression, aiming to create opportunities for a better future and promoting their region along the way. They organize trade shows and cultural events to promote fashion.
Their signature style is one of sharply tailored suits crafted by craftsmen using local fabrics, inspired by the bygone era of the 1920/1930s, (an era of Kurdish landowners class, the Effendis). A mix of European and traditional Kurdish elements are very evident in their designs with special attention to detail.
Bringing about Social change
The members of mr. ERBIL represents young Iraqi Kurds who are looking for a better life, better opportunities and a more cohesive society whilst promoting Kurdish culture to the world.
mr. ERBIL actively supports and promotes women’s rights, frequently featuring women’s issues in Kurdistan, Iraq and the world, with one of the subjects being the effect and impact that the conflict in the region has had on Kurdish women
Thursday is “girl inspiration” day on mr. ERBIL’s page, promoting and encouraging women rights, women empowerment and uplifting community projects
I had the opportunity to interview mr. ERBIL members and this is what they had to share:
Q: How did you get started?
A: We started and came up with the idea in 2015 and organized our first gathering on November 5, 2016.
Q: Why a Gentlemen’ fashion club?
A: We started with Gentlemen’s club at the beginning and we are also working on to open a ladies fashion club under the name of mrs. ERBIL.
Q: What inspired you to create this Brand?
A: We were influenced by PITTI UOMO, an event that takes place in Florence, Italy. But, ours was called GGE16 (Gents Gathering Erbil 2016). So, we as mr. ERBIL, have a gentlemen club here in the region; we get together and talk about the latest news about fashion, clothes design and new trends. Now, we have our “Made in Kurdistan” products, most of the suits were specially tailored for us, looking forward to attend PITTI UOMO event and representing our region and nationality as Kurds.
Q: How did you know that this is what you want to do?
A: Each of our members, especially the founders, had the passion for fashion, modeling and experienced in handcrafting goods and love what we do.
Q: What is the best thing about being a designer?
A: The best thing about being a designer is to bring your creativity into reality.
Q: What is designing to you?
A: It is freedom and love for the passion you have.
Q: How do you bring your inspiration into reality?
A: The main reason is to bring hope and bring back the taste of classic fashion style which we had back in 1920s known as “Effendies” style.
Q: How do you describe your creativity, style, and how is it different or not from yourself?
A: It is the taste of classic style with local and traditional touch.
Q: How did you get your first break?
A: We believe social media plays a vital role if you want to introduce yourself to the world and we are thankful for that. We have done a good job attracting people all over the world because we’ve done something new in our society bringing gentlemen who care about dressing well together
Q: What makes you unique from other designers?
A: We are influenced by the classic style and modernized it with the new fashion taste. We also show the people our national (cultural) Kurdish clothes (outfit) with different style based on different cities.
Q: What is a timeless piece to you?
A: we do care much about the details always, the way how the tie should be knot and also how the pocket square must look like, Blazers as well. But, overall, details matter.
Q: Do you have any special goals for your Brand ? (inspire anyone, win from other designers, be famous)
A: Of course, we have our goal to show the world that Kurdistan is as good as others and can be competitive.
Q: Can you describe how your Kurdish culture inspires your designs? What are the main elements of the Kurdish culture in terms of design?
A: As we mentioned before, the style comes from the classic times 1920s/30s which those Gentlemen called EFFENDI
Q: How do you see your brand contributing to change of perception in your region and about your region?
A: The goal is to promote local tailors that they are of international quality standards.
Q: Who do you design for and why?
A: We are just designing for our own brand so far.
Q: Tell me about the causes that Mr Erbil supports? And why?
A: Women’s rights, Human rights, Environment and Men’s health awareness (Movember).
Q: There is a trend right now using organic fabric, is this something that you see in your upcoming designs?
A: Yes there’s a special local organic handmade material which is completely natural called (KRR) which is mainly used in Kurdish traditional cloth which we are redesigning into our new collections.
Q: What do you hope to have achieved in the industry, 10 years from now?
A: That local handcrafted goods from Kurdistan is exported into international market.
Q: What is your message for all young aspiring designers in the competitive business of fashion?
A: If you set a goal for anything, you want to go for it. There is always failure with it no matter but always keep hard working on it and with time and passion, one day you will archive what you have set.
Q: What is the trend for 2017?
A: Our trend for 2017 is mixing classic design with modern design, elegance with a fresh touch.
For more information on Mr Ermil, click on below links: