March 10, 2008


In Iran, fashion as protest (Farangis Najibullah, 3/11/08, Asia Times)

Tehran is full of trendy boutiques and shops offering Western-style clothes, including skimpy tops and figure-hugging trousers - even though such items are forbidden. Ali M says many well-known firms, such as Christian Dior or Armani, have branches in Iran where they sell their cosmetics. However, they don't directly sell clothes, which instead are often specially ordered through private shops.

Apparently, nothing can discourage Iranians from trying to dress fashionably - not the restrictive laws, not the morality police, not even exorbitant prices for designer labels.

According to Ali M, those "who cannot afford to pay $600 for a pair of designer shoes, can easily find an exact replica of the designer label for $60. The same goes for dresses, tops, and coats".

In interviews, some Iranian women say they lead double lives when it comes to clothes and fashion. One Tehran woman admits: "We get dressed modestly for work, but privately we follow our hearts' desires - opting, for instance, for sleeveless tops, plunging necklines, and short trousers."

Iraj Jamsheedi, an Iranian independent journalist, says many Iranians, especially urbanites, are increasingly frustrated with authorities meddling in their private lives. "Many people ignore the rules as much as they can, simply to protest this and other social restrictions," Jamsheedi says.

"Official decrees have failed to change people's dress sense. In many instances, the dress restrictions have had the opposite effect - people's clothes have become more [liberal] than before. It is a sign that people are resisting these decrees."

The ayatollahs lost the Revolution, but they can salvage the Republic. That's the difficult dance step Ayatollah Khamenei is so far stumbling over.

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 10, 2008 8:04 AM

Khamenei is stumbling because he cares about the Revolution, not the Republic.

Posted by: Brandon at March 10, 2008 10:41 AM

But nothing about the women who actually tatto their lips red so that the Morality Police can't wipe off their "lipstick"....

Posted by: Barry Meislin at March 10, 2008 11:02 AM

He sold the Revolution out when he started electing Reformers. The Reform is needed to save the Republic.

Posted by: oj at March 10, 2008 11:34 AM

You cannot both keep a revolution going and be the establishment. At some time the fun has to end and the hard work of running institutions must begin.

Posted by: Mikey at March 10, 2008 4:24 PM

The institutions that the mullahs run are kleptocracies. All the giant mosques and 'seminaries' are fronts for laundering money for Hezbollah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, the Quds forces, the various Basij groups, and the like. They probably use the money to fund their nuclear research, groups like Mookie's 'army', the Shi'a militias around Basra, and also to fund the Syrians. It's like an export-import bank.

All the various gangs have their secretive financial pipelines. How will Iran ever 'reform' without shutting down these religious casinos? And how will the Republic ever function absent the underground economy?

Posted by: jim hamlen at March 10, 2008 10:40 PM

They should fund Shi'a liberation movements elsewhere, but need to reduce some of their power over day to day politics and economics at home. They'll get even wealthier and more powerful as a result, which is why people always come to the End in the end.

Posted by: oj at March 11, 2008 6:20 AM

Just think, some mullah is running the Blahnik concession in Tehran. Another is running the lipstick concession in Shiraz. And another is running the lace concession in Tabriz. I wonder what they stuck the capo in Qum with - corsets?

Posted by: ratbert at March 11, 2008 12:36 PM