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Western Influence in Kurdistan's Cul...
Sulaimaniyah, Iraq
By Transterra Editor
13 Aug 2013

Within Kurdistan and, to a lesser extent, Iraq, Sulaimaniyah has always been the city where changes start. It is known as the cultural capital of Kurdistan - more liberal, youthful and intellectual than Erbil. It is the home of Gorran - the first serious opposition to the ruling PUK and PDK parties and it is the city where all the uprisings and social upheavals in Kurdistan have begun. Although Islam still predominates in the city, people are more secular here than in Erbil and in the countryside.

Kurdistan is modernizing fast. The skylines of the cities are perpetually changing and growing upwards. There are many new cars on the street, often luxury models. People are becoming more prosperous and looking for ways to show it. At the same time, Western cultural influence is everywhere. There are multiplex cinemas that are indistinguishable from any in Europe. Internet access is faster and more commonplace. Many Kurds who left for Europe before and during the second Gulf War are now returning having lived, worked, had families and run businesses in Europe for ten years or more. Nowhere is this influence more outwardly tangible as in the style and fashion of Kurdish young people.

However, while the symbols of apparent modernization spring up all over the place, beneath the surface Kurdistan remains a deeply traditional place. Young people who dress in modern European clothes, drive new expensive 4x4s and hang out drinking in hotel bars and house parties still cannot go on dates with each other. The course of their early life is still mapped out by both familial and social expectations. The men are expected to go into a decent job (i.e. doctor, lawyer, engineer) and the women are expected to get married in their early twenties and start having children immediately. Sons and daughters live with their parents until they are married because estate agents won't rent property to single people for fear of 'dishonour'.

As they strain to create their own identity and express themselves through what they put on their back, the frustration in young men and women is palpable.

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Islamic Fashion in Istanbul (40 of 40)
Istanbul, Turkey
By Monique Jaques
11 Apr 2013

Backstage and runway images from the Islamic Fashion Show at the CNR Center in Istanbul Turkey. Several shows featuring Islamic designers and companies premiered throughout the weekend.

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Islamic Fashion In Istanbul
Istanbul, Turkey
By U.S. Editor
11 Apr 2013

In Turkey, the perceived growing Islamization in the country can be seen even in couture. The economy is booming, making Turkey more wealthy than it has ever been in modern history – and designers in capital Istanbul, are quickly meeting the demand in the market for conservative Islamic consumers’ desire for chic, modest fashion.

But though there is growing demand for conservative attire, this is not the case for the significant secular community, as is reflected in recent protests fiercely opposing what demonstrators believe is a growing imposition of Islamic conservatism by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the ruling Justice and Development Party. Even President Abdullah Gül’s daughter was widely criticized on social media after wearing a headscarf in her wedding.

Despite the unrest, new companies such as wedding dress designer Filiz Yetim, whose gowns retail at up to 4,000 USD, and chain stores like "Armine" continue to spread across the country, selling every day wear and evening gowns to female shoppers.

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Islamic Fashion in Istanbul (3 of 40)
Istanbul, Turkey
By Monique Jaques
11 Apr 2013

At a fashion shoot for ALA Magazine, the first magazine in Turkey for conservative women. The shoot is at Bretz Home in Kemerburgaz, Istanbul. Turkey

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Islamic Fashion in Istanbul (38 of 40)
Istanbul, Turkey
By Monique Jaques
11 Apr 2013

At a fashion shoot for ALA Magazine, the first magazine in Turkey for conservative women. The shoot is at Bretz Home in Kemerburgaz, Istanbul. Turkey

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Islamic Fashion in Istanbul (23 of 40)
Istanbul, Turkey
By Monique Jaques
11 Apr 2013

At a fashion shoot for ALA Magazine, the first magazine in Turkey for conservative women. The shoot is at Bretz Home in Kemerburgaz, Istanbul, Turkey.

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Islamic Fashion in Istanbul (22 of 40)
Istanbul, Turkey
By Monique Jaques
11 Apr 2013

At a fashion shoot for ALA Magazine, the first magazine in Turkey for conservative women. The shoot is at Bretz Home in Kemerburgaz, Istanbul, Turkey.

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Islamic Fashion in Istanbul (21 of 40)
Istanbul, Turkey
By Monique Jaques
11 Apr 2013

At a fashion shoot for ALA Magazine, the first magazine in Turkey for conservative women. The shoot is at Bretz Home in Kemerburgaz, Istanbul, Turkey.

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Islamic Fashion in Istanbul (20 of 40)
Istanbul, Turkey
By Monique Jaques
11 Apr 2013

At a fashion shoot for ALA Magazine, the first magazine in Turkey for conservative women. The shoot is at Bretz Home in Kemerburgaz, Istanbul, Turkey.

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Islamic Fashion in Istanbul (19 of 40)
Istanbul, Turkey
By Monique Jaques
11 Apr 2013

At a fashion shoot for ALA Magazine, the first magazine in Turkey for conservative women. The shoot is at Bretz Home in Kemerburgaz, Istanbul, Turkey.

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Islamic Fashion in Istanbul (18 of 40)
Istanbul, Turkey
By Monique Jaques
11 Apr 2013

At a fashion shoot for ALA Magazine, the first magazine in Turkey for conservative women. The shoot is at Bretz Home in Kemerburgaz, Istanbul, Turkey.

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Islamic Fashion in Istanbul (17 of 40)
Istanbul, Turkey
By Monique Jaques
11 Apr 2013

At a fashion shoot for ALA Magazine, the first magazine in Turkey for conservative women. The shoot is at Bretz Home in Kemerburgaz, Istanbul, Turkey.

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Islamic Fashion in Istanbul (16 of 40)
Istanbul, Turkey
By Monique Jaques
11 Apr 2013

At a fashion shoot for ALA Magazine, the first magazine in Turkey for conservative women. The shoot is at Bretz Home in Kemerburgaz, Istanbul, Turkey.

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Islamic Fashion in Istanbul (25 of 40)
Istanbul, Turkey
By Monique Jaques
01 Apr 2013

Filiz Yetim, a designer in her studio in the Camlica district of Istanbul Turkey.

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Islamic Fashion in Istanbul (24 of 40)
Istanbul, Turkey
By Monique Jaques
01 Apr 2013

Filiz Yetim, a wedding dress designer in her studio in the Camlica district of Istanbul Turkey.

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Islamic Fashion in Istanbul (33 of 40)
Istanbul, Turkey
By Monique Jaques
27 Mar 2013

A woman dresses a mannequin at the Hasema swimwear store in Fatih, Istanbul. Hasema is one of the main manufacturers of conservative bathing-suits and have a style similar to the "Birkini".

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Islamic Fashion in Istanbul (30 of 40)
Istanbul, Turkey
By Monique Jaques
27 Mar 2013

Shoppers in the Fatih distict of Istanbul, Turkey. Fatih is known as one of the most conservative districts in the city.

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Islamic Fashion in Istanbul (28 of 40)
Istanbul, Turkey
By Monique Jaques
27 Mar 2013

The Armine store in the Fatih distict of Istanbul, Turkey. Fatih is known as one of the most conservative districts in the city.