FIGHT OR FLIGHT: JUXTAPOSITION OF STYLE
“Okay, I say this is as a Kurd. I love it and I am not offended and I can assure you no Kurdish fighters I have come across have been offended by this; they are more… so flattered.” – thediaryofajournalist
FIGHT: FEMALE KURDISH SOLDIERS
By Vanessa Bessette
Kurdish Girl (above left) with Falcon (unknown)
Photography (top) by Jessica Fulford-Dobson
Long before the conflict began with the Islamic State, Kurdish women have been equal partners with men in the preservation of their collective survival; a battle they fight for their own national autonomy which has yet to be recognized. The West is fascinated by the female Kurdish fighters. We glorify their valor and commitment as we should. But the militias these ladies dedicate their lives to are still recognized as terrorist factions.
H+M (Hennes and Mauritz) created an outcry with their design of a military style jumpsuit that resembled the fatigues worn by the female Peshmerga soldiers. After much controversy H+M issued a public apology. With the influence these ladies have had on the media, young women and pop-culture, it’s no surprise that the fashion industry would incorporate their tactical style and comfort into new and socially relevant designs. And to many, imitation is the most sincere form of flattery.
AirFrance Madame #162, Photo Martin Lidell / Art Direction Giorgio Martinoli
H+M design (above) which resembles fatigues worn by female Kurdish freedom fighters.
FLIGHT: AFGHANISTAN’S SKATER GIRLS
“Her little hennaed hand rests gently – yet possessively – on the skateboard, and how small she seems beside it! I love her assurance: her firm, steady gaze.” – Jessica Fulford-Dobson
A few years ago a remarkable thing happened. Skater Girls in Afghanistan. I never saw that one comin’. In a country so ridden with strife and destruction one positive thing that’s been taking the region by storm is skate boarding. Since then at least one NGO has been sponsoring the development of skate parks and skating facilities from the Middle East, to Cambodia and South Africa. And the ladies of Afghanistan are all about it.
From the “Skate Girls of Kabul”, series by Jessica Fulford-Dobson
Image (above) from Skateistan
This new level of freedom and empowerment has a lot of these girls smiling. As military conflicts tend to foreshadow some cultural engagement through the sharing of “pop-culture” between adversaries and allies, it’s not surprising that skating has taken them by storm. And skating is emphatically American. Photojournalist Jessica Fulford-Dobson went to Afghanistan and compiled a series on the young ladies who have embraced the sport entitled “The Skater Girls of Kabul”.
Discovering a unique palette of color and culture her images convey the new sense of freedom and style emerging. Saatchi Gallery featured her work in an exhibition earlier this year. Afghan women wear some of the most chromatic and dramatic color palettes in the world. Why shouldn’t their boards reflect the style? MOMA and The Skateroom are working to finance the building of Skateistan’s first skate school in Africa, for central Johannesburg through the sales of skateboards designed by artist Paul McCarthy.
Skateboard decks from artist Paul McCarthy