Dubai-based Filipino fashion designer Michael Cinco found himself in hot water earlier this week when he mistakenly called one of his Kurdish-inspired creations for Arab Fashion Week "Persian." The Kurdish community was quick to react to the cultural faux pas, moving Michael to apologize and correct the trousers' name—but not before significant online backlash.
Film director Beri Shalmashi called Michael out on Twitter, writing: "Stop stealing our culture. This Italian [sic] designer takes a Kurdish coat, Kurdish pants and Kurdish shoes and sells it as ‘Persian’ because to him Iranian and Persian [are] the same. Wrong, @michael5inco. Wrong for many reasons."
She also later made public Michael's apology, praising him for acknowledging his error. "Happy to wake up to a humble message from @michael5inco apologizing and seeing he reposted his Kurdish inspired designer pants. This was the effort of thousands of Kurds around the world last night. He just gained millions of fans who are proud to see their style go into fashion."
Following the incident, Preview reached out to Michael himself for comment. Below, read his official statement on the issue!
"Before we launch, we understand limitations. It takes time and careful planning before I release my collections.
"The Michael Cinco team firmly stand on ground that we do our reseach, learn about history and historical narratives while gather informations and deliberate because we value and respect cultures since every country have historical importance and preserve those memories and their stories.
"We strongly understand the systematic collection of living people's testimony. We listen to people and focus on the role of responsibility."