Now you are thinking: War and fashion show? Yes, exactly! War and Fashion Show. The deadliest bomb attack in Baghdad, happened on July 3, 2016, in one of the most famous neighbourhoods of Al-Karaddah. The bomb killed about 292 civilians and injured more than 200. The attack was carried out by the so-called Islamic State – IS. IS is what everyone has been talking about for the past 7 years. As a countermovement for the Iraq invasion of 2003, and the grab for power by the Shia majority, the IS came to existence. In order to be heard and to show their presence, they started bombing and killing people.
You’ve probably heard about the month of Ramadan. Muslims fast during a whole month, followed by a three-day celebratory ending, better known as Eid Al Fitr. Somewhere halfway Ramadan, people will go to the markets and shops to get new clothes for Eid. Amongst them are children, adults, mothers, fathers, newly weds and so on. During the preparations of Eid 2016, a lorry filled with explosives exploded and killed dozens of people that were from all parts and sects of Iraq. Later, they were in coffins instead of new clothes.
The first thing I head when I got to work was the news of this deadly attack. When we saw what had happened, everyone bursted into tears. I couldn’t work that day, no one could, Iraq was mourning. These feelings return as I’m writing this, the same heartbreak, that was felt by every Iraqi. Every single person was affected either by losing a family member or scarred emotionally. It feels like the red flower from the “beauty and the Beast”. Iraq is the flower and it’s losing its petals one by one and it will be doomed to remain a hopeless case for all time. But, heartbreak does not mean that the Iraqi people stopped living their lives. We move on and do what little we can to make a simple change.
The story for this blog started when I went to London Men’s Fashion Week 2018, June 8 to 11. For the first time in my life, I was asked as an invitee to a couple of shows. Guys, the feeling when I received the email was just indescribable. Me, the guy from Iraq attending one of world’s biggest fashion weeks as a participant. YES I did it. I was extremely happy but I had one problem; I didn’t know what to wear.
Back to Eid. It’s is exactly like any fashion week in the world. People save money for that day just to get the most expensive, and stylish outfit. They will be seen by all the friends, family, relatives and if s/he is lucky, the crush will be around to say happy Eid to. So, can you guess my favourite day? You guessed it right, it’s the day of Eid! I would go with my aunt or mum when I was little and would make sure I was sleeping right next to my new outfit. My heart would beat so fast with excitement for getting up early in the morning, and smell a typical breakfast being prepared; Shekh mahshi, roasted chicken, peach soup and of course rice decorated with raisins and nuts, at 8 o’clock in the morning. We used to go to Eid prayer with friends and cousins. We always had the debate about wearing the new clothes to the prayers or wear them after having breakfast. My cousins had a friend in their neighbourhood, he always used to wear it for the prayer (what a joke), but we all wore it after breakfast as this is when the real Eid starts.
I would put on my outfit, get my hair done, and wear some of my father’s old perfume. All the kids, adults would go out and congratulate one another, whilst showing off their clothes. They would complement and comments on other’s outfits, followed by some serious posing for the cameras. Since this lasts 3 days, the rich kids could go and change every day or so, but the majority would wear the same clothes, for 3 days straight.
When I was at the fashion week, I felt I was with like-minded people wearing new clothes, (not exactly my own clothes though) posing for the cameras, being excited to go see more new designs and trends.
When I was growing up I didn’t even know there is such a thing called fashion week, all the while attending a similar fashion week twice a year.
Fashion has been accompanying me all that time without me really knowing it. Well, I am happy that I was not left out all these times and I can’t wait to attend future ones. All the children, families who wanted to attend the fashion week on July 2016 couldn’t because they fell victim to war and some foolish political disagreements between sects. At least fashion can bring people together, make you feel safe with family and friends in war zones or in a peaceful place like the UK. Maybe my next stop is going to be Milan, Paris, or even New York.
I wish I could go to Baghdad and take pictures of the actual area. But instead, I am attaching some pictures of me attending the fashion week in London and some of the highlights I’ve seen.
I hope you enjoyed reading it, see you in the next post.
Photo by amazing: Issa Yazji – Instagram @issayazjiphotography