What fashion stands for in times of oppression?
Totalitarian regimes have always tried to master and control the cultural society, you name it, under the 3rd Reich or under Stalin, same techniques and demands were used. In contemporary politics nothing is different, the tools evolved with our society’s development and lives are stil menaced and taken by force for a line of poetry.
Today we follow with indignation the acts that occur under the Iranian government of the docte. We all now the name of young Mahsa Amini and her shocking death that transformed her in a freedom symbol and started the anti-regime demonstrations all over the country. An unfortunate new theme for pop culture, the Iranian “Bloody Friday” happened on September 19th 2022 when 66 people, most of them students, were killed by the enforcement officers during a protest. Shervin Hajipour, young Iranian artist released Baraye…that became the freedom hymn of the Iranian people and their his combat against dictatorship. Shervin Hajipour was also incarcerated right after this.
Salar Bil conceptual designer of a dialectical fashion – one of the successful pioneers in Iran’s design market – is now found guilty as well. Salar’s latest collection, Ghola, is an anti-regime manifest inspired by ancient poetry and theatre. This work is dedicated to Gholamhoseyn Sa’edi – prolific and prominent Iranian writer under the pen name Gohar Morad, that instigated the New Wave Iranian Cinema. Salar stands for liberty, his designs may be rather grungy but “the collection is for everyday people, he is telling us, my position is clear i am everyday people until death.” Salar Bill is condemning the torrent of “pseudo-artists who imitate the West” and talks in his podcast of many social matters and false opposers that only pose as such with “weak gestures”
Salar is underlining the importance of art and media, of feminism and gender equality and the role they are playing in this so important cultural revolution. Take for example the monumental work of Bahram Beyzai, despite the censorship, he published over fifty plays and directed a dozen feature films. Most of them banned as they do not meet the moral and aesthetic criteria dictated by the regime.
Today it is a common fashion item, the mandatory hijab, that becomes The Flag. A simple gesture and a simple piece of cloth… a dangerous act and a meaningful oppression accessory are writing history; the young generation, the future of Iranian intellectuality are marching for freedom.