Thursday, 3 April 2008

Iranian Fashion

One reader asked me to look into Iranian style. I know we're probably all aware of the notorious 'Fashion Police', but take a look at some of these creative outfits from designer and editor of Lotus Journal, Mahla Zamani. I love the colours in the first one. You can see more pictures here.

When travelling to Iran, it's probably easiest to wear an abaya with hijab, to avoid any chance of harassment. Alternatively, you could wear long (below the knee) jackets/tunics over wide leg trousers. If any readers are from Iran, let us know more!


Sara said...

Salam Hayah,

I'm glad you have posted about Iranian fashion. I think us hijabis should express our anger at the "fashion police". The environment in Iran has become so confused about this that some think that this sort of policing is really Islamic.

They had actually given people a break for a while, and there was hope of stopping these sort of actions altogether, but unfortunately Ahmadinejad's government has started it all over again...

You don't really have to wear an abaya to be safe in Iran though. The long coat (which is known in Iran as mantue) + jeans or trousers or long skirt + scarf would do, and is more common in Iranian cities, particularly trousers and a manteu. There would be no excuse for anybody if your mantue comes at least as low as your knees, but you could also wear shorter ones if your trousers are wide legged. Don't worry because the strictness is usually not for foreigners, many tourists can be seen with a loose shirt and pants, but I wouldn't advise that to be on the safe side! As a hijabi, I usually didn't have a problem, except for a couple of times that my manteu was considered too short, and that was in a particular building that was more strict than usual.
For non-hijabis you can wear your scarf rather more loosely than a hijabi would usually, as that is how it is worn by non-hijabis in Iran.

The bright side (if any!) of obligatory hijab is that you can find many variations of hijab-friendly clothes that are close to western clothes. There are many stores that exclusively sell mantues and you can find almost anything from elaborately decorated abaya like ones to sportish outfits, mantues appropriate for work ...
The scarf shops also have a larger variety than I have seen anywhere else of hijabs, and the prices are really affordable.

Anyway if you would like to travel to Iran don't let the hijab thing frighten you, there is so much to see that you would forget about it really soon!

Sorry if my comment is too long!
Good luck!

Hayah said...

Sara, thank you very much for your comments! I'm sure the reader who asked about Iranian style will find this very useful.

Jazakallah khair!

ammena said...

salam sis... nice masha'allah :) I dunno about anyone here but I just love the look of a short abaya with jeans or trousers.. short as in calf length, I dunno what it is about them, they just look really funky to me :P

Alixianna said...

Me too. Imaan collections abayas come with trousers so I always pick them up.

Hayah: I've been looking for the source of these pics for soooooo long.

meryem said...

thank you hayah!

you are really very nice, for taking time to do all this! may you be rewarded by allah!

thank you sara!

I see there are colors in the iranian fashion as well ;))
do you think, I'll stick out of the crowd if I just wear my usual (colorful) hijab and western, hijab-approved clothes?
and you said that the prices are "really affordable" does that mean much cheaper, cheaper or similar as in the uk for example?


Sara said...

Salam meryem,

I think you would do fine, the only change I make in my clothing is that I don't wear the loose long shirts that I wear here in Amsterdam with pants, it has to be a bit longer. There is generally no problem with color, people wear all colors.

About the prices, hmmm..., I don't know about the UK. It does depend on where you choose to shop, but generally Iran is much cheaper than Europe. Unfortunately there is some inflation right now, and I haen't been there for 7 months, but the price range for a mantue was generally between 10 (ok, usually in a sale) to 50 US dollars, and a scarf between 5 to 20 (simple scarfs can be found for less than, but for 20 you could by a nice embroidered shayla, we call them "shall").

I've never been into shopping that much, but this shouldn't be that off!

If you need more info, just leave a comment here, and I'll send my email to Hayah.

Best wishes!

Anonymous said...

Nice to see this Iranian fashion, it's so chic! But I think it is quite similar to some fashions in Egypt nowadays (new ofcourse but very nice)

Anonymous said...

I was just in Iran and I go quite regularly and I can tell you...I almost never see the hejab police. I was in Saudi for a yr with my husband and THERE you do have to be very cxareful as there are mutawwa in many places but in Iran, if there are crackdowns...which you do now and then read about them in the Iranian newspapers online, they afre usually focused just on girls who blatantly show disregard for the law.
But, you still see a LOT of women wearing behind length or shorter, skintight manteau and NOW short sleeved teeshirts with undershirts on and barely existant scarves.

generally obvious foreigners are not bothered, ive seen many foreigners in Shiraz and Esfahan with even teeshirts on and a baseball hat for the hejab, ofcourse its always best to err on the cautius side and atleast just wear a light kurta with loose pants and a light scarf.

For us Muslim girls going to Iran...both Iranian and non Iranian background, generally an abaya while OK is looked upon as weird and 'Arab', esp if its typical long length, a better idea if just wear a pardesu, trench or a long shirt. Many of Shurks tunics would be ideal for Iran. Aloso few Iranian women wear skirts. Skirts are considered sort of indecent in Persian culture and you really only see women who are Loor or Qashqai wearing them, either as their traditional garb or a modern style skirt with a shirt or manteau. Otherwise, unlike in Arabn countries, skirts are considered sort of "eww"...its best to wear pants.

The recent trends though are changing and more and more women are wearing shorter and shorter manteau and teeshirts with arm covers and tighter and tighter pants. Its kind of a shame. Its quite easy to buy manteau, although the prices have gone up recently and the sleeved chador called chador-e melli and a abaya-like garment with attached shaylah worn over a scarf and jeans called chador-e shalee are everywhere and quite inexpensive.

Hope this helps.

Anonymous said...

Yes, I agree, many people seem to think that when travelling around Iran, you have to dress in a black abaya. This is not the case, as people wear very bright colours and manteaus, usually paired with jeans and sneakers or heels.
So don't be afraid to wear colour and tight-fitting clothes, as long as it is not over the top, you won't be harassed.


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