Women in Iran are limited to which outfits they can wear due to the Islamic dress code. Iranian fashion designers have moved away from the dull, uninteresting designs of yesteryear, and are incorporating Western styles into their designs. Their work, being popular in their home country, has also been recognized abroad. Here are the most inspiring Persian designers to look out for today.
Anar Design was started by Anousheh Assefi and has been running for ten years now. Anar, which means pomegranate in Persian, focuses on adding a touch of style to traditional Iranian fashion, particularly scarves and manteaus. Assefi incorporates vibrant patterns and has great cuts and fits which are attractive for young, chic buyers. She has an understanding of a woman’s fashion needs and does not let any restriction from the government have any effect on how she emphasizes style, modernity, and beauty.
Arefeh Mansouri is an Iranian-born fashion designer, now living in Canada. Her range of couture designs as well as her “avant-garde wedding gowns and evening wear” have a unique style and have already made their way to New York Fashion Week. Mansouri is a versatile designer who doesn’t always stick to a signature style but includes ranges which feature elegant pieces with muted colors and soft drapes, which differ from her couture line.
Mahshid Mahdian is still new to the fashion world, yet she has already been recognized for her work, winning a prestigious award this year, the ID Dunedin International Emerging Designer Award, in the promotion of up and coming new designers. Her work has “unique character and personality” which is brought across beautifully in her creations. She has distinctive, original style including “classic, fitted cuts with bold, graphic patterns, clean lines, and dramatic silhouettes” in her lines. Mahdian has a great vision for her work, and although she probably won’t be able to establish her line in Iran, she has shown how contemporary Iranian fashion can make its mark in the world.
Naghmeh Kiumarsi is a well-established designer in Iran. She has a knack for blending traditional Iranian wear with contemporary design to reflect the culture and heritage through her clothing. Her designs appeal to modern, fashionable women, not only Iranian but worldwide. She has launched her line in the UAE and is making a name for herself in the UK, and has been selected to display her work in a fashion show at the Edinburgh Iranian Festival.
Nima Behnoud is an Iranian-born designer who started customizing his clothing as a teenager, with slogans, spray paint, and other accessories. Along with his friends, they used to crash underground parties where he could show off his unique clothing. Behnoud eventually moved to the US, here he works with vintage items, and has altered many pieces to create contemporary fashion. He would often silkscreen Persian typography and poetry onto fabrics which led him to develop his signature style. Today he includes Persian calligraphy and creates unique graphic patterns with it. He has become popular in his bold approach to fashion and has featured in Vogue and The Washington Times.
Poosh, otherwise known as Pooshema, is a successful Iranian clothing brand, launched by designer Farnaz Abdoli. She created pieces with the intention to design a line of women’s fashion that included elements of contemporary fashion, yet still adhered to the Islamic dress code. Her work has brought her where she is today, with the popular brand, Poosh. She has made global fashion trends accessible to Iranian women, and Poosh is a registered fashion brand which is approved by authorities and the Ministry of Culture in Iran.
Radaa was launched by Maryam Vahidzadeh in 2012. The brand is known for its wearable fashion which appeals to “the quirky youth of Iran, with a mixture of playful prints, color block tights, and dramatic accessories.” Vahidzadeh does a lot of online business and promotion for her work. Her brand is now registered in Iran, and she is encouraging creativity and expression through her designs, as young Iranians discover their own form of fashion.