People in flowing, colourful dresses with artfully arranged turbans in harmony with the bustling cities and surrounding landscapes – this is the picture that presents itself to travellers in the Kurdistan Region. The traditional garments with their intricate details are also worn in everyday life, but are especially used during festive occasions such as Newroz.
Layer by layer
Traditional Kurdish clothing for women is comprised of several layers. The first layer consists of a wide pair of trousers (awal-krass), made from an exceptionally thick cloth (surma). Some of these trousers display striking patterns, others are kept rather plain. Over the trousers, a sheer petticoat (zher-krass) and a dress (krass) are worn. The latter is usually sewn out of chiffon or silk and stands out due to its loose sleeves resembling a triangle. Some women opt for patterned fabrics and elaborate embroideries, whereas others prefer neutral colours. The outfit is completed by a belt taking care of a beautiful waist. In the hot Kurdish summers, many women wear a short bolero (helak). During winters, a coat (kawa) made from a special fabric (gurun) is worn. In former times, these long coats were additionally lined with cotton to shield off the cold. When working, people would lift the edge of the coat and tuck it in the side pockets in order to protect the valuable piece of clothing from wet and dirt. Traditional clothes for women today are often complemented with modern elements and are largely tailored to the wearer’s desire.
An expression of regionality
The male traditional Kurdish clothing is made up of several layers as well, which vary in colour and fabric depending on the geographic area. In general, men will wear a ranku choxa, a composition of a pair of wide trousers, a shirt and a jacket, with a broad belt made of cloth worn over it. For colder days, a jacket made of sheep’s wool or cotton is worn. The turbans, too, are distinctive and vary widely across the regions in colours and wrapping technique.
Kurdish clothes can by no means be bought ready-made. For each and every outfit, a visit to the tailor is necessary – unique items of clothing are thus guaranteed.