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Fitting in isn’t really Dilan Lurr’s thing. The self-taught designer co-founded Swedish/Kurdish menswear label Namacheko with his sister Lezan in January 2017. She has no time for mundanity either.
In 1997, together with their parents, the Lurrs moved from Kirkuk, Iraq in the semi-autonomous Kurdish region to Lund, Sweden, where they were the only immigrant family in town. Both studied civil engineering, with Dilan later earning a second degree, this time in art. Lund was home from home but never, well, home.
That search for belonging and cultural identity became the driving force behind the duo’s personal art project, a photobook and short film exploring their heritage. But for their work to come alive, a cast, a setting, and a wardrobe were needed.
The latter is what caught the eye of influential Parisian boutique The Broken Arm, which picked up the project's full collection upon the film’s release at Paris Fashion Week.
But what now?
The Lurrs hadn’t planned to become designers. They certainly weren’t prepared for the pressures that come with the backing of one of the world’s most influential boutiques, let alone the 40 other retailers that soon followed.
Through a hookup, Dilan enlisted the help of Gysemans Clothing Group, the Belgian production and distribution company that is a longtime producer for the labels of Raf Simons and Kris Van Assche.
Now in their third year, the Namacheko designers still refuse to follow where others lead. For the Lurrs, fashion remains highly personal. That’s part of the reason the young brand has found success in such a short timeframe.
Like in previous seasons, Namacheko’s FW19 casting still largely comprised street-cast models and family members. The show’s location at the futuristic Oscar Niemeyer-designed headquarters of the French Communist Party could be perceived as equally unconventional for those unaware of the Lurrs' family ties to the party.
The clothing, thankfully, isn’t like anyone else’s either. Namacheko’s sharp cuts and toned-down styling can easily be mistaken for minimalism. A closer look at the complex construction techniques and luxurious choice of textiles, however, shows that the designers have a highly idiosyncratic approach to their collections.
For instance, around 70 percent of Namacheko’s FW19 collection was created with textiles provided by acclaimed Danish textile company Kvadrat, whose fabrics can often been seen on high-end furniture. In recent years, the company has also collaborated with Raf Simons, adidas, and graphic designer Peter Saville on everything from cushions to footwear and showrooms.
There were also anoraks made out of curtains and a show-stopping marine blue overcoat, which used the same technique and production company as used on Raf Simons’ Fall 2014 collaboration with US artist Sterling Ruby.
“It’s not cheap but there’s a qualitative reason for it,” Dilan Lurr tells Highsnobiety after Namacheko’s Paris show, which Lurr described as a “self-portrait.”
“There are a lot of people working in offices because it’s safe," he says. "They go to university, get their education, and live their lives in an office. They have this creativity inside of them but no confidence to release it.”
This same feeling made Dilan look inwards to when he was 23. “I’m thinking of people who once inspired me to choose the engineering path, people like Dieter Rams, Frank Lloyd Wright, and Achille Castiglioni,” he explains. “I began imagining the other reality, how I would have dressed in that office.”
On the runway, that alternate fantasy was manifested through rich-colored suiting and heavy outerwear, which were paired with intricate knitwear. There was unusual detailing such as button closures on the bottoms of trousers, shirt collars were untucked, while red satin overshoe protectors covered black Oxfords for the men, with pumps for the women, who also walked in the brand’s first small womenswear collection.
References were made to artists Joan Miró and Alexander Calder through the geometric organic shapes of some of the jackets. Three impeccable oversized knits, referencing the process of blending oil colors, closed the show. These, too, were inspired by famed artists — Vincent van Gogh, Edvard Munch, Glenn Brown — and were made from jacquard and flat-printed mohair. Nothing mundane there.
These items will come at a price, but it will be covetable without a doubt. They're exactly the type of product to elevate Namacheko to the place it deserves to be.