Iranian Fashion Designers Give Old Traditions A New Twist

Great design is always a universal language.

Photo by Star Foreman.


While divisive global politics can make cultures seem like a world apart, creativity is a unifying agent that can bring us together.

The pervasive narrative surrounding Iran has often obscured the diverse artistic offerings from creatives influenced by the region’s ancient and contemporary cultures. Southern California is home to America’s largest Iranian population — many of whom relocated after Iran's Islamic Revolution in 1979 — so Los Angeles experiences a wonderful patchwork of Persian culture every day.

From the myriad homey restaurants of Westwood — a neighborhood that locals lovingly call “Tehrangeles” — to the high-end fashion and galleries displaying works by Persian designers, Los Angeles cultures don’t collide, they elide, bleeding together in an almost seamless convergence. This duality was recently showcased in the works of Iranian fashion designers Shahla Dorriz and Jila Saberi, who presented their Persian-inspired designs on the runway. Dorriz’s designs interwove her family’s own story into each piece, using fabrics that have been in her family’s vault for up to 150 years and hand-scrawling calligraphy onto the textiles herself. Saberi partnered with her husband, architect and sculptor Ali Kourehchian, to create masks that were influenced by Persian poetry and tilework. While some of the designs are only suitable for a step-and-repeat, many of their pieces would be home anywhere from Milan to Minnesota.

Great design is always a universal language.

Photographer Star Foreman recently captured some of the inspiring runway action for GOOD.

Behind the scenes of Iranian designers Shahla Dorriz and Jila Saberi's fashion show. Photo by Star Foreman.

A model laughs before heading out onto the runway. Photo by Star Foreman.

Photo by Star Foreman.

A design by Jila Atelier. Photo by Star Foreman.

Shahla Dorriz uses fabrics from her family's collections. Photo by Star Foreman.

Designer Shahla Dorriz wears fabric with her own calligraphy on it. Photo by Star Foreman.

A mask by Ali Kourehchian. Photo by Star Foreman.

Designs by Shahla Dorriz. Photo by Star Foreman.

Designs by Shahla Dorriz. Photo by Star Foreman.

Hand-painted skirt design by Shahla Dorriz. Photo by Star Foreman.

Designs by Shahla Dorriz. Photo by Star Foreman.

Designs by Jila Atelier. Photo by Star Foreman.

Masks by Ali Kourehchian. Photo by Star Foreman.

Ali Kourehchian and Jila Saberi. Photo by Star Foreman.

Photo by Star Foreman.

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