Iranian woman
Photo: EPA

Ahmadinejad presents: Islamic chique

In effort to settle dress-code dispute between hardliners and women who prefer tight-fitting coats to traditional cloaks, government sponsors best Islamic dress competition

Iranian law requires women to cover their hair and body in public areas, but how to do so remains up to them. The result is a lot of confusion on the streets.


While Shiite Muslim clerics suggest that women wear chadors — the traditional head-to-toe cloak, some Iranian women prefer tight-fitting coats and scant head scarves.


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According to the Washington Post, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad wants to settle the dispute by promoting government-approved apparel for women, garments intended to introduce an array of clothes that are “Islamic and beautiful” at the same time.


במעילים ובצעיפים. נשים איראניות (צילום: איי פי)

Uphill battle. Iranian women (Photo: AP) 


A government-sponsored fashion show displayed the 110 designs which were entered in a competition for the best Islamic dress. Women who attended the show who gazed approvingly at the plastic mannequins showcasing the new coats and scarves, the American newspaper reported.


A team of judges — mostly men — graded the coats on their functionality, design and “Islamic-ness.”

Shoukoufeh Arabpour, 23, a student of fashion design, coveted a velvet blue coat. She said that if it were up to her, she would be wearing something like the coat instead of the chador, which covers everything except her face.


“I wear that because my family wants me to,” Arabpour said. “Unfortunately, compared to other nations, we face restrictions in the choice of our clothes.”


Hardliners claim the new designs promote "Western values." According to them, the “culture” of covering up protects women and prevents them from becoming sex objects. They often denounce Western advertising as abusing women’s bodies to sell products, the Washington Post reported.


However, the report said, with young adults making up the majority of the population — nearly 70% of Iran’s more than 72 million people are younger than 35 — religious conservatives have been waging an uphill battle to prevent young urban women from dressing the way they want.


According to the Washington Post, women in the streets of Tehran can be seen wearing combinations of wide-open coats, heavy makeup and towering platinum blond hairdos held in place by large hair clips and minimally covered by brightly colored scarves. Technically, the report said, they are not violating the dress code, but they can still be arrested.


The hardliners’ answer to the changes has been an effort to enforce the dress code even more strictly. Apart from an ongoing campaign by the Islamic Republic's morality police, who sometimes detain women dressed in clothing considered indecent, 70 fashion designers were rounded up in November, and more than 400 shops selling “improper” dresses were closed, the Washington Post reported.



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פרסום ראשון: 12.27.11, 08:40
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