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Blessed in the West

Updated: Jun 7, 2019

June 6th, 2019

Not everyone is able to fully express themselves through their clothing. My mother is Iranian and my father is African American. I grew up knowing that I am blessed to be able to express myself through fashion. There are some 40 million females in Iran who do not have this liberty(1,2,3). The dress code is a scarf to cover one’s head and loose fabric covering one's whole body(4,5,6). Punishment for breaking the dress code can include imprisonment(7,8,9). This infringement of artistic freedom can even follow Iranian women abroad. Actress, Golshifteh Farahani, was banned from returning to Iran for participating in a French commercial where she bares a single breast(10,11,12). The same goes for actress, Sadaf Taherian, because of Instagram posts where she is shown without a scarf covering her head(13,14,15). Marzieh Vafamehr, another Iranian actress who appeared in an Australian film without a head scarf on, was given a sentence of one year in prison and 90 lashes. The sentencing was appealed and then overturned in Iran with the help of Amnesty International(16,17,18). When my mother was a young teenager in Iran, the dress code was the same as in America. She enjoyed the freedom of the 60's miniskirt and GoGo boots. When the new regime took over in Iran the style of dress changed to the covered up look we know of today. But even if you grew up within the confines of the new Persian dress code, I think you have epigenetically inherited some of your style sensibilities from past generations.

I was surprised by what I saw as I was taking a look at Iranian street style online. The imagined dark colors and familiar shapes were not apparent; something unique has emerged instead. However hints of the classic look that Iranians embody so well remains. Perhaps this is because some of it was to say, ‘frozen in time’. The mod chic-ness of the 60’s and 70's, with its emphasize on perfect coifs, large sunglasses, elegance and charm can definitely be seen. I believe these are cues from royalty. Can you imagine growing up with the ideal of style emanating from a queen like Farah Dibah; who’s style rivaled that of Jackie Onassis.

Take a glance at some Iranian street fashion:




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