Namacheko launched for the fall/winter 2017 season as a photography project that surpassed the Lurrs’ expectations. “I was working in a beer bar to save some money to buy a camera, and wanted to publish a book about my home city in Iraq, Kirkuk,” explains Dilan. “I don’t know how it happened exactly, but we said, ‘Let’s do fashion too. Let’s do a little movie about Kirkuk and do a small collection as costumes for the movie.’”
That first collection was titled “Serdem Nivar,” which means “the future generation” in Kurdish. The designers used symbols and fabrics associated with Iraqi women’s bridalwear, including heavy white silk, and photographed the pieces on their male family members in Kirkuk.
Dressing their uncles and male cousins — who, Dilan says, “don’t even get up from the couch to fill up a glass of water themselves, they ask their wife to do that” — in the brand’s feminine silk pieces was the designer’s way of incorporating a female voice into the collection. The project — video, clothing and still images — explored Namacheko’s cultural outlook, which centers on identity and self-determination.
The siblings presented the collection and film at a small gallery during Paris’s fall/winter 2017 men’s fashion week, but, Dilan laughs, “no one came!” Except for one Parisian boutique — The Broken Arm, which immediately bought the whole collection. After that, Namacheko quickly gathered a cultlike following. The next season, Dover Street Market New York invited the emerging brand to set up an installation around its spring/summer 2018 collection.
Dilan continually returns to the concept of identity. For fall/winter 2018, he thought a lot about what it means to be an immigrant, and what it means to be a Kurd. “We developed this fabric with Agnes Martin’s ‘The Sea’ on it — a black painting with white stripes. Basically, the sea at night,” he says. “I was thinking about the immigrants that want to come to Europe and how they travel across the sea. I used to commute between Copenhagen and Sweden, across the sea. I could travel across it by train back and forth safely, every single day. I thought of the people who can’t.”