When thinking of Iran, several things come to mind: audacious art, a rich history, intricately woven carpets, colorful mosques, and world-famous caviar. So many aspects of Persian culture are recognized and celebrated globally, with Iranian cinema joining the ranks as of late, but the country is not quite on the map as a hotspot for fashion – yet.
So what are people in Iran wearing? And is this a place we can now consider a style hub? Today, social media is bringing the country’s many talents into the spotlight. A young generation of Iranians, many of whom are based in the capital of Tehran, is now using platforms like Instagram to showcase inspiring and inventive ideas. Here, you’ll find some of my favorite brands to follow and shop.
The brand was established by Fooziyeh Foroudnia in April 2010 in Tehran. She is an artist, not a commercially oriented designer who follows a trend or Western attitude. Fooziyeh creates her own aesthetic for pieces made for the modern woman. She labels her narrative “semi-formal fashion” and uses patterns of Iranian art, architecture, and nature to blend her heritage with today’s fashion. Foje is a statement that combines rich and complex art in a minimal way.
Brand founder Anette tries to erase the limits of practicality in the design of Geodie handbags, making them easy to incorporate into an everyday routine. The unique styles are inspired by her architecture studies, and this is what makes them so special. She uses specific and distinct materials that are not commonly found in the construction of handbags to create unconventional designs. Geodie bags are primarily sold in Iran, but will soon be coming to the UAE.
Artman is a shoes and accessories design studio founded in 1985 in Iran. The designs are inspired by the label’s Western counterparts, but what makes Artman so special are the impeccable details. The form of the heel, the color of the leather, or the elegance in every shape created really separates this brand from others. The Artman woman favors strength, classic elegance, and strong designs with a difference.
Topping the list as one of my personal favorites is Azalee. The brand’s founder travels to numerous neighboring countries for inspiration, and as a result the designs really capture the feeling of the region’s origins and authentic folklore. The uniqueness of her shoes makes the label a hit locally and globally, while the use of color and embroidery helps create a whimsical feel – one style, for example, uses an ancient Afghani belt that has been updated with sequins.
American-French-Iranian designer Tara Zadeh’s eponymous brand is one with a strong Iranian heritage that draws inspiration from the myriad of palaces, gardens, and mosques in Tehran, Isfahan, and Shiraz. Her handbag designs feature geometric shapes and vibrant colors – a nod to the intricate ceilings, walls, and floors typically found within these grand establishments. The bags are handcrafted in a small Spanish town that is renowned for its leather industry.
NoFux is one of the youngest brands on this list, having only launched in 2014. The label is most famous for its large selection of manteaux, a modest outerwear garment that is required to be worn by women in public spaces in Iran. NoFux is taking a traditional concept and a mandatory silhouette and adding a modern spin with interesting shapes, colors, and patterns.
Maryam Nassir Zadeh
Probably the most globally renowned brand on this list, Maryam Nassir Zadeh plays with her neo-minimalist designs to create must-have pieces that are loved everywhere from the Middle East to New York. Her nonchalance reminds me of my great aunt, laying on a hammock on a very warm summer night in Iran. She has an effortlessly chic air about her, one that every woman should be inspired by.