Hijab Street Fashion: Iranian style

Madi Jahangir – Colorful, vibrant and elegant. Fashion in the streets of Iranian cities often defies the mainstream media portrayal of Iran as a dark and colorless society, in which women are forced to wear black outfit from top of the head to the tips of the toes, an image similar to the attire worn in countries like Saudi Arabia. Iranian women have had their special way of wearing from the time that Islam was introduced to Iran. Nowadays they are trying to create an identity and maintain an Iranian style of hijab fashion, pretty much similar to many other Muslim countries. But what is an Iranian hijab style.

*women wearing Chador in Shiraz

Hijab is mandatory in Iran and the government imposes a type of dress code which requires women to cover the hair and body. Religious Persian women traditionally wear a type of garment named Chador which is very popular in central Iran – the region that most Persian population resides. But this is not the traditional hijab for all and none has actually enforced Chador, not even at the first years of revolution when people were more strict than now.

*Photo Credit: Humans of Tehran

Iran has religious minorities that they are required to wear the headscarf in the public but the government does not impose it on them in their own communities. They are allowed to produce their own alcoholic beverage as well as pork but are not allowed to sell to muslims. Other ethnic groups follow their own type of ethnical costumes which is quite vibrant and colorful. However at schools and governmental offices they are usually required to wear the least of the official Islamic dress code which is pants and a tunic or thin overcoat named “Manteau”.

*school children in Iran

“Manteau” is a french word which means coat or mantle. After revolution when most women started to cover up & follow the Islamic laws, they wore a type of coat which was long and loose and knotted the square scarf under their neck. This style is still identified as Iranian way of wearing headscarf. However after 30 something post revolution, the design of Manteau and Chador has evolved alot.

*Fashion at the festival of Women and national production

Women are half of the Iranian society and 60 % of the university students are female. Unlike the society’s pre revolution culture, many Iranian women work outside the house and families have quite adapted with woman’s significant presence in the society. But it was not only the people but their way of wearing also changed. Iranian designers have created different types of Chador and Manteau which is more comfortable for working woman. Beside that, they tried to bring more variety in their way of wearing by matching different colors and new styles. These designs are not governmental however they have tried be at least based on the official norms. There is this huge underground designer market in the country that trends the new and often beautiful style of manteau and colors for each season.

Muslim women clothing hides the beauty but can also reveal it other way. Chic Irani girls tease the beauty out of the Islamic dress code. Whether their headscarf is loose like this:

*Photo Credit: Humans of Tehran

Or cover the hair like this,

*Azadeh Namdari, Iran state TV presenter

Or wear a Chador like this!

*Photo Credit: Humans of Tehran

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