Demand for traditional wear drops

Sulaymaniyah’s vibrant Kurdish clothing market falls flat due to economy, Ramadan timing

SULAYMANIYAH — The usually vibrant market for traditional Kurdish women’s clothing in Sulaymaniyah is experiencing a downturn, with sellers lamenting a dramatic drop in customers this year. They blame the sluggish economy and timing of Ramadan, which coincides with the Kurdish New Year celebration in March.

“The market for Kurdish women’s clothes is down,” said Selman Mohammed, a fabric seller. “There are days we only sell one piece, it’s unlike any situation we’ve seen in previous years.”

In past years, Mohammed recalled, business boomed during this season, starting near the beginning of the year and peaking at Newroz, the Kurdish New Year on March 21. But this year, the festive atmosphere is absent.

The economic downturn in the Kurdistan Region, with public sector workers facing delayed salaries, is one factor dampening demand. However, sellers say the timing of Ramadan, a holy month of fasting for Muslims, has dealt an additional blow.

“We’ve faced economic crises before,” said Ismail Qader, another seller with decades of experience. “But this year, Ramadan has further hurt our sales.”

Ramadan, which is expected to begin around March 11 this year, overlaps with Newroz celebrations, traditionally a time for families to gather and wear their finest traditional attire. This year, many families may skip or downsize their purchases due to religious observance and financial constraints.

The quiet market stands in stark contrast to the usual hustle and bustle, and sellers worry about the impact on their livelihoods. With Newroz and Ramadan approaching, hope remains that some sales might materialize, but the festive spirit of the season seems dimmed compared to years past.