Iranian Models Struggle to Find Jobs
Five years down the road, Iran’s fashion industry is still not big enough for its bevy of ambitious beauties.
The meaning of the phrase ‘project runway’ has taken a twist in Iran, where fashion-related jobs such as fashion design and modelling were considered indecent jobs until only recently.
Things began to change in 2007. Troubled that more and more young Iranians were adopting ‘un-Islamic’ Western attire, the government, seeking to preserve the gulf nation’s strict Islamic dress code, permitted fashion shows to take place. The caveat: only traditional Islamic dresses are allowed to be showcased, although more flexibility is given to the accessories.
According to the Asahi Shimbun, former sports trainer Sharif Razavi saw the relaxing grip of the government as a business opportunity. Four years ago at the age of 30, Sharif established a modelling school where young Iranian women could learn to strut the runway in a modest manner. Every year, around 10,000 students apply to Sharif’s school, despite the limited chance of job placement upon their graduation.
Iran’s Persian beauties find more job opportunities in nearby cities in Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and India. One example is Masha, an Iranian-born model who worked for a while in Dubai before migrating to India a few years ago. Masha had modelled for top brands such as Louis Vuitton, Sony and Pepsi during the course of her career. With regards to her migration to India, she told Dubai newspaper The National, ‘For my career, it is so much better than it is to be here in the Middle East.’
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