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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 11 December 2018

Backlash after Dubai designer Michael Cinco labels his Kurdish-inspired designs as Persian

The designer, who created the collection for Arab Fashion Week, has since apologised to the Kurdish community

Michael Cinco at Paris Fashion Week in 2016. Courtesy Michael Cinco and Couturissimo
Michael Cinco at Paris Fashion Week in 2016. Courtesy Michael Cinco and Couturissimo

Dubai-based fashion designer Michael Cinco has publicly apologised after he mistakenly claimed that part of his latest collection was inspired by Persian garments instead of Kurdish.

Michael Cinco originally shared his design, captioned Prince of Persia, with his 1.1 million Instagram followers, but was quickly called out by the Kurdish community.

Hundreds of people commented on the picture to praise the outfit, but point out it was actually inspired by typically Kurdish pieces - the kawa, a traditional coat, and the sharwal, a style of pants.

At first, Cinco, who is Filipino, responded to critics by insisting he had done his research, and implied the clothes were Persian because they were inspired by Iranian designs.

But this led to further backlash, and a message from Dutch-Kurdish filmmaker Beri Shalmashi pressuring him to correct his mistake (but calling him Italian, which he is not).

Her tweet sparked a further onslaught of comments, which eventually led to the designer apologising and acknowledging his error. In a message to Shalmashi, which she later shared on Twitter, Cinco said: “I apologise if I have offended you and thank you for your concern. I really appreciate that, thank you.”

He later updated his Instagram caption to say the model was wearing “Kurdish-inspired pinstripe pants”, and received dozens of comments to thank him for acknowledging Kurdish culture.

Cinco was showcasing designs from his latest collection for Arab Fashion Week, which took place in Dubai last week.

A Michael Cinco design from the last edition of FFWD was the recent gown of choice for Bollywood's Aishwarya Rai in Cannes. Courtesy of FFWD
A past collection by Cinco

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Read more:

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Aishwarya Rai Bachchan's Michael Cinco gown steals Cannes limelight

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