Kurdish clothing

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Kurdish traditional clothing (Kurdish: Cilî Kurdî) are variant and an ongoing part of Kurdish heritage. Kurdish clothes have never gone out of fashion.

Types of clothing and accessories[edit]

  • Rank u chogha
  • Sharwal u Mraxani
  • Star Xani
  • Kattafi
  • Kawa u Salta
  • Pishten
  • Puzawana
  • Kolwana
  • Klash

Traditional Kurdish dress[edit]

Kurdish women in traditional dress, 1973

The traditional Kurdish dresses [1] are for everyday wear and are not reserved only for holidays. The Kurdish costume was worn every day in the past. Currently some women still wear them on a daily basis especially by the older generation of women. The dresses worn on a daily basis tend to be modest in colour and have little or no accessories or embroideries. In the present day the Kurdish dress is more commonly worn on special occasions.

Traditional Kurdish women’s outfit includes either a vest or long-sleeved jacket or long overcoat worn over a gown. An under dress and puffy pants is worn beneath the gown. A belt over the gown is also needed. Traditionally women wore Kurdish hats ornamented with valued coloured stones, beads and gold pieces. Overtime this has become less common. Now it is more popular among women to only accessorise with gold Jewellery. Usually younger women and young girls wear brightly coloured dresses adorned with many beads and sequences and the older women wear darker colours. However older women tend to wear more gold jewellery because traditionally when women married they would receive a dowry of gold jewellery pieces from their groom, the tradition implied that the amount of gold pieces a woman wore signified the status amongst other women in their society. This still applies today to a lesser extent.

Costume pieces[edit]

The vest, long-sleeved jacket and overcoat; are either made from a plain fabric, a velveteen fabric or a sequence covered fabric.

The gown; is usually the dazzling masterpiece of the outfit. Most commonly Kurdish women wear a mesh fabric or a sheer fabric which is ornamented skillfully with many beads or sequence or both. The embroidery can be the same colour as the fabric or multicoloured to create a bright dress.[2] The brightly coloured outfits characterize the spirit of the Kurdish people. There are many different structural designs of the gown. The most common ones today are the traditional Kurdish region gown which is straight top to bottom with very long sleeves and the Kurdish-Iranian gown which is frilly from the waist down. Not to be confused with puffy "Aladdin" style garments.

The under layers; the under dress and trousers are made of a plain satin fabric usually matching the colour of the gown.

The belt; Fabric belts for are colour coordinated with any piece of the outfit. Married women tend to wear gold belts. There are two common types of gold belts:

  • Lira belt; a gold belt made entirely from connected gold Lira coins or dangling gold Lira’s.
  • ‘Gobarah’ belt: similar to a lira belt but the coins are inexpensive unlike the Lira coins.

The traditional Kurdish hat; is usually black velveteen ornamented with traditional amber and turquoise beads [3] with gold or silver charms.

Traditional Kurdish gold jewellery; Traditional jewellery is gold, with gold charms and traditional amber, red or black beads and occasional dangling Lira coins.[4]

  • Sheelana ; A long gold necklace with amber, red or black beads and dangling leaf shaped charms.
  • Meglad ; A big black stone dangling from a gold chain
  • Lira belt; A gold belt made entirely from connected gold Lira coins or dangling gold Lira’s.
  • Gobarah belt; similar to a lira belt but the coins are inexpensive unlike the Lira coins.

Modern dress[edit]

Most Kurdish women and men have a large collection of Kurdish dresses and are always on the lookout for new designs and fabric. They usually buy the fabrics of their choice and then have it tailors as such there are tailors who specialize in making Kurdish clothes. Recently these respected tailors have turned into designers that have created different designs for the conventional structure of the dress. In villages most of the time women tailer for their entire family after everyone making their own fabric choice.

There are known designers like Dilkash ‘Della’ Murad who integrate modern techniques with traditional and modern Kurdish styles.[5] There are so many different styles of the Kurdish dress/clothes today that in recent years there have been many fashion shows, showcased for a Kurdish and International audience. For example shows have been held, in Vancouver, Canada,[6] in Melbourne Australia at the Kurdish Film Festival by the Kurdish Women's Society[7] and in Hackney Museum as part of their Kurdish Cultural Heritage Project.[8]

See also[edit]

References[edit]