You may have heard of Iran’s few and far between ‘Fashion Police’ who regulate how women present themselves in public.
So far, the new Rouhani government has brought a more relaxed attitute towards the morality police, and is much more lenient on western influence and the expression of culture.
Fashion designer Shadi Parand has been working for nearly 30 years, inspired by her couturier mother who also had a passion for all things patterned, colourful, interesting, and unique. In a short documentary by the Guardian, Shadi explains Iran’s nature of “Inside and Outside fashion.” On the inside, Shadi says Iranian women as the same as western women, and wear beautifully colourful, patterned, and unique clothing. On the outside, they wear hijabs or chardors, which she believes is similarly “sexy.”
“Iran is a country of contrast and contradiction. We have our own way. We are the ones who impose what has to be done” – Shadi Parand
Shadi seems like an incredibly liberated, powerful and determined women in spite of her sex, place of birth, or religion. It is so rare that we are exposed to this wonderful side of Iranian people, and is an absolute pleasure to finally see it in western media.
We highly recommend you watch this insightful documentary: http://www.theguardian.com/fashion/video/2013/may/24/shadi-parand-iran-fashion-deisgner-video
Skiing isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Iran. With over 20 ski fields in the country, and some of the best and least-populated off-piste skiing, skiing in Iran may be one of the most surprising experiences of all.
In 2008, English comedian, Dom Joly was inspired to hit Iran’s ski slopes after he stumbled across a photograph of ladies in burkhas skiing (similar to the one above). He visited Shemshak resort, one of the four main ski resorts high in the Alborz Mountains.
He described this part of Iran as unlike the rest – more distanced from Islam, less traditional, busy, more westernized, and incredibly beautiful.
Apart from the great snow, weather and terrain the Alborz Mountains have, each resort’s village atmosphere and après-ski scene is lively. As tea culture is hugely significant in Iran, the resort cafés and teahouses are quaint and ambient. In spite of nationwide ban on alcohol, the nightlife in some resorts is said to have been “out of control and even mind boggling.”
Shemshak and Dizin resorts are probably the most mountainous and challenging of those Iran has to offer, with more lifts, slopes, and plenty of untouched off-piste skiing. Tochal and Darbansar resorts are better suited for beginners. All resorts have equipment hire available, accommodation and are within a day-trip distance from the bustling capital, Tehran.
For more information about skiing and ski culture in Iran, see the Lonely Planet website, or read more of Dom Joly’s article.