Far from Brooklyn, Iraq’s hipsters are a hit on Instagram

Members of Mr Erbil, a group consisting of young fashionable Kurdish men, pose in Erbil, Iraq. (Reuters)
Updated 23 February 2017
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Far from Brooklyn, Iraq’s hipsters are a hit on Instagram

ERBIL, Iraq: With their waxed moustaches, precision-clipped beards and dapper clothes, members of the Mr. Erbil gentleman’s club look like the smarter residents of Brooklyn or Shoreditch.
But rather than the hipster neighborhoods of New York or London, this is Erbil, the capital of Iraq’s Kurdish region — just 100 km from the grim battle to drive Daesh fighters from their last bastion in the country.
“When we started we were in a bad situation, economic crisis and then an expected war against Daesh,” said Goran Pshtiwan, 26, wearing a three-piece suit and custom-made moccasins decorated with the club’s logo — without socks, naturally.
“There was no business activity so we started with the idea to gather and make something different and unique and change the look of the people and the way that they are thinking.”
As well as regular meetings where they dress in different styles, from smart casual to black tie and traditional Ottoman-time attire, the club aims to support local tailors and craftsmen who help make their outfits.
Accessorized with purple-trimmed handkerchiefs, pocket watch chains and selfie-sticks, the men, in their 20s and 30s, hold photoshoots at local beauty spots, posting the results on Instagram where they have more than 60,000 followers.
The buzz has surprised co-founder Omer Nihad, a 28-year-old former stock trader, who said Star Trek actor George Takei, who has more than 2 million Twitter followers, had mentioned the club.
A recent video they shot received 5 million views, he said.
While a boy’s only club, Mr. Erbil uses its Internet platform to promote women who are working to improve rights and opportunities for girls.
Nihad said the club aimed to launch its own clothing brand, set up a shop and collaborate with fashion houses. And he would love to see Mr. Erbil featured in a high fashion magazine.
“Of course, we don’t want to be on the front page,” he said. “It is okay if we were in the middle!”


Ethiopia’s capital to ban motorbikes in bid to curb crime spree

Updated 19 June 2019
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Ethiopia’s capital to ban motorbikes in bid to curb crime spree

  • Addis Ababa Mayor Takele Uma said motorbikes had been used in recent crimes and the city would prohibit them from July 7
  • Takele Uma said the Addis Ababa municipal administration will also impose a ban on trips by most freight vehicles in the city during daytime

ADDIS ABABA: Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa plans to ban motorcycles in the city from July in a bid to curb a spree of muggings and robberies, local authorities said on Wednesday.
Addis Ababa Mayor Takele Uma said motorbikes had been used in recent crimes and the city would prohibit them from July 7 though people using bikes for business may be exempt.
“Exceptions will be made to those conducting licensed businesses with motorcycles as well as those who use motorcycles as postal carriers and motorcycles affiliated to embassies,” the mayor told journalists.
Addis Ababa, a city of an estimated five million, is generally considered safe for residents and foreigners. But a growing number of violent crimes involving suspects on motorbikes or in cars has caused alarm.
The mayor said the proposed ban came after a study of criminal activities in the city found a significant number were carried out using motorcycles.
Takele said the Addis Ababa municipal administration will also impose a ban on trips by most freight vehicles in the city during daytime to alleviate traffic congestion in the capital.