Fashion Designers In Iran Find Their Way Around The Dress Code

Fashion Designers In Iran Find Their Way Around The Dress Code

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High-end fashion designers like Dolce&Gabbana and Oscar de la Renta have all recently produced fashion lines aimed at Muslim women. 

It’s big business.

A report from Thomson Reuters found that Muslim shoppers spent $266 billion on clothing and footwear in 2013 and that number is expected to reach $484 billion by 2019. But alongside the big global fashion houses there’s also a crop of independent designers working in some unlikely places, including countries like Iran: a sign at Tehran’s international airport reads “Respected Ladies: Please Observe Islamic Dress Code.” 

Iran has had a compulsory dress code for both men and women since the Islamic Revolution of 1979. There’s a special police force, known as the morality police, who are charged with enforcing it. But despite the restrictions, there’s a growing crop of fashion designers who have a found a way to work within the system. Iranian American fashion blogger and activist Hoda Katebi  went to meet them and photograph their collections. She’s documented their work in her book Tehran Streetstyle, and she joins us to talk about the state of fashion in Iran.