Bursting the Instagram-Fast Fashion Bubble with a #Thrift Revolution

Is there anything more thrilling than rummaging through a second-hand store? The excitement of possibility in the vintage treasure you might uncover. The satisfaction of sustainability and knowing your money is investing in a positive cause. The bargain hiding under a dusty old scarf or a dead person’s jacket, just waiting for you to claim it. Ahhh! Nope. There is literally nothing more thrilling than getting your thrift on!

It’s definitely my Womble at heart that makes the impenetrable smell of mothballs wafting through the air and that inevitable film of grime that layers your hands after touching old stuff more a badge of glory than a cause for disgust.

Foraging through secondhand clothes is an addictive, dopamine-boosting concoction. Combining the quest for something new, creating a completely unique look and bargain-hunting, soothed with the reassurance of aiding the environment.

Any guilt of unnecessary consumption is vanquished by the security that thrifting  is an act of both social activism and personal liberation.

On a societal level, it’s a beautiful two-fingers up to the oppressive and prescriptive fashion system; a system that has relied on disconnecting and disempowering us, reducing us to empty vessels, filling us with what we think we need and pushing us to incessant over-consumption and perpetual dissatisfaction.

The speed and fickleness of trends it rapidly churns out is dizzying. It’s not possible to keep up. The whole thing is built to make us feel like we don’t have enough, we don’t look good enough and we need more, more, more.

How have our style figureheads become measured by Instagram likes, donning one-time-wears in attempts to ‘influence’ us to purchase the exact same look? That’s not creativity or style. That’s passive consumption and commercialism.

The wastefulness, the impersonality, the lack of creativity. Gross.

Cyclical fashion trends, intensified by social media, are constructed to compromise our personal power. In obvious – and not so obvious – ways, they tell us what to wear and how to spend, all whilst selling us the illusion that we’re the ones in control. Yet, beneath the surface, it evokes our insecurities and inside we’re battling a perpetual need to keep up and buy something new to feel good.

Many of us are awakening to that illusion and realising that the revolution is thrifting.  Secondhand shopping app Depop makes £300mn a year in sales since starting out in 2011.

Wearing secondhand bursts the Instagram-fast fashion bubble. Rather than leading others onto copycat fast-fashion sites, a unique-to-you, thrifted #OOTD inspires a culture of creatively styling ourselves and resourcing our wardrobes.

It requires style over fashion and means getting closer to who you are, your identity, self-expression and your definition of your style. Only you have the power to create and play with that.

Get vintage and secondhand fashion inspiration on my insta: @HCC

Government’s ‘No’ to Sustainable Fashion Signals Radical Social Change

Parliament has failed us, now it’s time to build the vision of fashion we want ourselves

This week the biggest ever inquiry into the UK fashion industry was tabled by Parliament. Presenting wide-ranging and key recommendations for policies and legislation to end fast fashion (one of the world’s biggest industry contributors to climate change). Ministers rejected EVERY SINGLE RECOMMENDATION made by Fixing Fast Fashion Report: Clothing Consumption and Sustainability.

Conducted by the Environmental Audit Committee, the report cites startling truths on overconsumption including that, come 2050, almost three planets will be required to resource current lifestyles.

The government’s passivity of the urgency for change has sent shockwaves through the public, environmental activists and fashion designers. Ministers’ rejection of the report’s direct and tangible solutions to the fashion industry’s prolonged damage to the environment is especially startling as just last month, Parliament declared a state of climate emergency.


The report evidences urgent need for fast-acting, top-level action to tackle the current system’s environmental destruction and to clean up dire working conditions. Its recommendations to appease throwaway culture include a 1p garment tax. It also promotes a sociocultural shift by encouraging clothing design and mending lessons in schools and tax incentives for repair services.

The facts are unavoidable and they are sinister. It’s critical that prompt action is taken to regulate fashion’s contribution to climate damage. Producers must slow down and stop producing. A move, of course, that requires legislation and policy change enforceable by the government.

Parliament’s refusal to legislate towards positive cultural and environmental change confirms the uncertainty of the period we’re in. It is also a crucial turning point in history for us to reclaim our power and devise empowering new alternatives.

“By 2050 the equivalent of almost three planets could be required to provide the natural resources needed to sustain current lifestyles” says the UN.

This rejection certifies loud and clear that the government as an institution is not fit for service in a just and equal society that people are calling for. This indifference illuminates the institution’s archaic, rigid structure as obsolete in times where people are demanding more and better for our lives.

Supported by critical movements like the Women’s March and Extinction Rebellion, we are shaping new parameters for the world we want to live in. That requires models founded on agility, adaptability, responsiveness and compassion (AKA antonyms for the current state of UK Parliament). As a society that wants more, we are outgrowing the function that this government can serve.

This inaction serves as a mirror reflecting back to us where our collective power has long been absorbed in this out-of-touch institution – sustaining class difference, healthcare cuts and social divisions whilst funding £80,000 salaries for its MPS.

Beating on Parliament’s door is not working because Ministers and MPs don’t want to hear us. Stepping forward, we must channel angst into action and create the vision of the future we want. No one person can take on the entire epidemic of climate change, but we must recognise our responsibility to do our bit, wise-up, recognise our own power and act on it.

That requires a considerable perspective shift, redefining where our power lies and initiating new solutions – solutions that do not rely on winning the attention of unconcerned Ministers and MPs. It means focusing on the mass empowerment and emancipation of the UK’s citizens by recognising that the power is with us, not them.

Sans government, how can we step forward with determination and resolve to create positive, radical social and cultural change?

Money and technology. Whilst these commonly evoke cautious reactions, a paradigm shift from defensiveness to opportunity thinking could be the answer to reshaping fashion.

Embracing our capital power in a consumer-led society, we can initiate change through the way we spend. Money, regardless of how much we think we have, is a form of power, and reframing the act of spending and consumption is a positive force. Every pound we spend is a choice that creates the world we want to live in. Becoming conscious of this, we can cut off the power supply of fashion’s worst offenders forcing brands to either adapt to our demand or dissolve.

“Every time you spend money you are casting a vote for the kind of world you want.” says Anna Lappe

In addition, at the rate of technological advancements, dominant power is moving from the hands of the traditional lawmakers and into the hands of the app-makers. Instant communication allows for global awareness-raising, birthing ‘clicktivism’ – the means through which anti-Trump protest marches were organised to take place simultaneously across the world. It allows for global networking and faster inspiration, creativity and creation for problem-solving through inventions, knowledge and environmental solutions.

Searching for solutions to fast fashion, legislation, education, media, brands and consumers all entwine in a messy and complex web of a globalised landscape. The government is continuing to fail us as citizens and its unwillingness to fix fashion could be the catalyst needed to spur a radical paradigm and culture shift.

Author: Holly C. Campbell


What Does Feminism Mean Today?

Over centuries feminism’s presence in popular culture has been contested. Amidst a great shift in a how the movement exists in mainstream media, what do popular portrayals of feminism mean for women’s experiences of liberation today?

Holly Charlotte Campbell hosts a free interactive discussion and feedback group to inspire critical and collaborative thinking on feminism today.

Your voice, opinion and experiences are important. This is a comfortable, constructive and respectiful space for you to share your thoughts and receive valuable takeaways to inspire your own projects, career aspirations and academic work.

ProjectFEM’s next event is open to UAL students only.

Limited spaces available, please secure your space here: https://bit.ly/2RraZT7

10th October 2018


Free tickets: https://bit.ly/2RraZT7

Room: T1003

London College of Communication

Elephant & Castle

What Does Fem Mean Image




How To Vote Towards Gender Equality on June 8th

Originally published by Grazia here.

The state of politics in the world today can seem, at best, murky. It can be difficult to know who to trust or which party really upholds women’s interests. With the government calling on us to vote again on 8th June, we need to make some sense of the chaos and quick.

So, where do we start? Last month, Theresa May announced a shock snap election (despite promising to not hold one until 2020), in which she was debatably driven by her parties’ lead over Labour. An election win would enable the Tories to more easily pass their favoured Brexit related legislation. The announcement provoked calls for ‘progressive voting’, with the Green party tactically pulling out of crucial election seats to help Labour topple the Tories. This is in the context of the UK’s unrepresentative first-past-the-post electoral system, where the number of votes cast for a party does not determine the number of seats they will win in parliament. No wonder many of us are suffering from ‘world-whelm’! It’s enough to disaffect us from politics altogether, which is what we saw with the sense of ‘Bregret’ from voters who cast a protest ‘leave’ vote in the EU referendum but regretted it once the economic reality had set in.  If there is one thing we have learnt from the UK’s political turmoil, it’s how powerful your vote actually is. As 2018 marks 100 years since women were granted the right to vote and with women’s rights at the forefront of activism today, we must recognise that every vote makes a difference. It is important now more than ever to make the right decision towards gender equality on June 8th.

Amongst this political pandemonium, here are 3 ways that you can vote towards gender equality in the upcoming election:

  1. Vote for a party who show that they are actively challenging issues that affect women. This is how the main parties have voted on women-related policies:

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2. Vote for a female MP, regardless of party, in support of gaining more female representatives in parliament. This could work towards equalising the disproportionate amount of men currently upholding seats. Here is how the gender imbalance in parliament looks at present:

Source: http://www.womensequality.org.uk/why-we

However, whilst a representative proportion of women in parliament may constitute equality this does not necessarily mean that those women will vote in favour (or at all) of women-specific legislation. For example, Theresa May did not vote for equal pay transparency, whereas Jeremy Corbyn voted in favour of this policy.

3. Vote for your local Women’s Equality (WE) party MP. Founded in 2015, WE do not yet have a seat in parliament, but have achieved fledgling success by gaining over 350,000 votes across 4 areas in their 2016 election campaign. There are 7 WE MPs standing in the 2017 election, a party founded on the principles of equality with objectives on ending violence against women and equalizing opportunities, representation and education. Find out more about WE here.

Ultimately, how you vote is your choice and there are multiple ways that you can use the upcoming election to vote towards gender equality. Whichever route you think most effective, between tactically toppling the Tories or backing your local female or WE MP, don’t let the bewildering landscape of British politics deter you from having your say, use your vote on June 8th.

Author: Holly Charlotte Campbell

How Feminist is Your Feminist Wardrobe?

Author: Holly Campbell

It’s no secret that feminism, as a concept and buzzword, has shot to the forefront of popular culture in recent years. But as feminism grows in popularity, just how ‘feminist’ is it? And how ‘feminist’ is feminist fashion?

Feminism’s mainstream popularity has grown since 2014 with Beyonce’s ‘FEMINIST’ back drop at the VMA’s, followed by Emma Watson’s HeforShe campaign and Chanel’s Feminist protest catwalk .

More recently, we have seen a serge in feminist fashion with ‘FEMINIST’ emblazoned sweaters and t-shirts by top designers and brands. In September alone, H&M restocked their sell-out ‘Feminist’ tee with a similar sweater and dress. This was accompanied by an advert featuring ‘real women’ that aimed to challenge conventions of femininity with plus size women, female leaders,  women with armpit hair, muscles and women of colour. Last New York Fashion Week, Dior sent a skinny, young, pale-skinned model down the SS17 runway wearing a tee with Author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s quote ‘We should all be feminists’ printed across it.

Some have praised these moves, arguing that the feminist cause is finally receiving the attention it needs to achieve its goals. It is true that mainstream attention can be helpful for the movement to receive mass positive attention.  Its opens conversations about equality amongst people who may have never otherwise encountered them. This is potential for new feminists to take action for equality, to encourage young women to read a feminist article or book and to create a more accepting culture towards equality. Of course, this can contribute towards feminism’s goals.

However, when does popular feminism simply become appropriation? Since 2004, Dove has been using a rhetoric of female empowerment to market their products. Today, Chanel, Dior and H&M are explicitly capitalising on feminism to sell their clothing. They are earning a profit from ‘Feminist’ stamped clothing as the popularity of the movement continues to trend. But, for trends to come, they must go – in one season and out the next. Trend-spotters must foresee upcoming social shifts and incorporate them on to the runway or high-street ready for us to eagerly consume. As consumers and fashionista’s, we no longer relate to the young, skinny, ideal and H&M are aware of this – marketing an advert based on exactly that. Feminism is a trendy buzzword word and brands have reflected that trend.

It is not good enough to praise brands for finally reflecting what women want and need – like genuinely diverse representations of women and a recognition of the issues we face in isolation. Brands are foreseeing a shift in what women want and they are acting on that for profit.

Feminism has become a popular cause for businesses to capitalise on. Truly feminist fashion contributes to the cause, uses ethically sourced materials, with no sweatshops and no exploitation of women. Truly feminist fashion is built on charity or social enterprise models, sustaining financial or physical contributions to feminist causes that give women opportunities and genuinely support women from all backgrounds.

Before buying, ask “How is this feminist?”. Consume fashion consciously and explore some authentically Feminist brands below:









Reflection: ProjectFEM’s Feminist Fashion Catwalk and Exhibition

High on the buzz of the debut ProjectFEM fashion event, Founder Holly Campbell reflects on the day, thanks all involved and offers food for thought for the next epic event…

The event was truly a success. After months of planning and exasperating hard work Danielle, Annie, Georgie and I managed to pull together our first event working late nights and weekends around our full time jobs. We emailed until our fingers were numb, persistently pitched for funding and flyered until we ran out of places to go; it all paid off on the day and we seamlessly improvised through unexpected challenges.

The Team: Annie (Media), Holly (Director), Georgie (Stylist), Danielle (Event Manager at Cargo)

We welcomed guests including the Women’s Equality Party’s Sophie Walker and Catherine Meyer, plus size model Jada Sezer, activist model Rain Dove and America’s Next Top Model’s first gay contestant Cory Wade. All of whom were incredibly passionate about the cause and recognised the necessity of opening a conversation about the detrimental impacts of fashion around gender, beauty, diversity and representation. Sophie Walker gave a captivating speech about WEP’s #NoSizeFitsAll body image campaign, in which a fundamental component is to pressure London mayer Sadiq Khan into withdrawing funding from London Fashion Week for shows that do not cast at least one model of size 12 or above. Our audience were reassuringly engaged and opened up further important conversations around body image and fashion. Take action here.


Sophie Walker, Leader of the Women’s Equality Party, speaking on 09.09.16

Then the show began! Our models were beaming with confidence and excitement and it showed. Designers included Gudrun & Gudrun, a sustainable knitwear brand and Neon Moon a feminist lingerie brand. Each look made a statement through visual culture in terms of gender and beauty.


VIPs at the ProjectFEM event, 09.09.16

Diversity and representation are our fundamental aims and integral to our values and mission. We were successful in achieving racial diversity amongst our cast of models and we had a range of genders and ages. However, we recognise that we did not capture a cast as representative as we had hoped. We had two recruited plus-sized models and a model with physical disabilities, but at the last  minute they pulled out which was out of our control. This meant that we did not manage to represent physical disability in the show, whilst invisible disabilities were present amongst our cast.

FullSizeRender (3).jpg

Catwalk Finale, 09.09.16

Upon reflection, as much as we advertised through social media, flyered and put out casting calls with a diverse modelling agencies, we struggled to capture the amount of transgender, age and ability diverse models as we wanted. We were inundated with applications from models from ranging ethnic background but found it a real task to reach those with broader ranging underrepresented qualities. Starting the project we thought individuals from these groups would eager get involved. Upon reflection, this challenge shows that if there is no consistent mainstream space for these people then how can there exist an aspiring population of models ready to jump at our adverts? We advertised with a diverse modelling agency but that brought us only young, slim and ethnically diverse models. Diversity is more than that.


Models from the ProjectFEM Catwalk, 09.09.16

This exemplifies the need for us to continue our work in advocating true human representation within fashion. To achieve that we need to provide opportunities, hope and change for human beings who are completely unrepresented by the fashion industry. We need to give them the space to become models in the first place, to pressure fashion week organisers, designers and advertising agencies to allow equal space for these models. We cannot simply widen the goal posts of idealised beauty by having racial and size diversity, we need to reinvent those ideals from a deeper grassroots level with the radical value that we are all beautiful, all races, abilities, genders, sizes and ages included.

We cannot merely broaden the goal posts of what or who is considered idealised beauty, we need to revolutionise what we are told beauty is. If people outside the stereotypical ideal are not represented then they are unlikely to aspire to become models. We must provide that empowerment and a platform for them to do so. We have learnt a tremendous amount from hosting our first event and our values, drive and integrity has never been stronger!

Feedback from models following the event:








Feminist Fashion Catwalk & Exhibition, Friday 9th Sept, Shoreditch London

We are hosting our first event under ProjectFEM.

Experience a truly empowering and inclusive fashion culture with diverse and representative models and ethically and socially responsible designers.

We are working with the Women’s Equality Party’s #NoSizeFitsAll body image campaign to combat the ideals perpetuated by the current fashion industry.

Let’s join forces and create the change we NEED to see in the world! 

Tickets: http://bit.ly/2bJPjvB

Your Clothing Effects the World: Why We Need a Cultural Shift Towards Ethical Fashion

Author: Bella Sloane – BellaSloane@live.com

Reduce, reuse, recycle: the mantra of the preachy “environmentalists” in their earthy get-up and ever-so-slightly self-righteous gaze. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate their efforts and their commitment to Mother Earth. I am a strong believer in forming my opinions based on well-researched evidence, and a minimal amount of research into the true causes of our world’s issues led me to a well, so deep and hidden, that everyone is falling right into it. In truth, the number two pollutant of the flowing rivers and evergreen forests (right behind oil) is the fashion industry.

The thing about the current fashion industry (depending on your customer base, we’ll assume the average person residing in a developed country) is that the trends are constantly changing and the popular stores have to meet those trends to stay popular. Translation: produce tons of clothing for an incredibly cheap price so that if the trend suddenly disappears, you don’t face a huge deficit. That sounds like a great idea for profit, so the only problem is finding a way to make clothing so that it’s actually cheap.


Photo: The Guardian

While most people don’t condone the idea of a sweatshop, many don’t understand that almost all of the clothing an average American buys was made by a person, usually a woman, in an uncomfortably hot room filled with other people. This person has no workers’ benefits and no say in how much they’re paid, which is very little (let’s not even get into the pollution and filth it pours into the environment: do your own research). If they protest against anything, from wages to working conditions, they are fired with the promise that there is someone who wants their job more (a chilling thought reminiscent of early 1900s America). We can blame the industry and the big businesses like Forever 21 and American Apparel (some of the worst) for cutting corners and being generally shady as fuck, but ultimately they are just trying to achieve what every business is trying to achieve: profit. It comes down to our responsibility as a consumer to purchase things that are responsible and ethical, and that requires an entire culture shift.

MAM Sweatsho.jpg

Photo: Made in America Movement

There are an incredible amount of businesses that make ethical clothing, but the only problem is that their prices are significantly more costly than what we’re used to. This is because all of their clothing is handmade and ethical, from the fabric to the dye to the price of labor. Our culture is one of consumption, and celebrities are often mocked for wearing the same thing twice. I suggest something entirely opposite. Even if you continue to shop at Forever 21 and Walmart for now, truly consider your purchases. Would you wear that shirt 30 or 40 times? And how much would you be willing to pay for a shirt that you wear 30 or 40 times? I’m okay with buying a quality, $40 dollar shirt if it was ethically made and sustainable because I’m going to wear that shirt for at least the next two years. I can guarantee (from personal experience) that this is a life-changing concept. I love all of my clothing. I wear it all. Everything I choose to adorn myself in is a representation of me and I feel like I am truly who I am in all of it.

Turning to ethical fashion does not limit your options, even though it will feel like it at first. Do your research (there are several documentaries on Netflix) and think about exactly what you want to put on your body because every choice you make has an impact on the world.


Our 8 Fave Feminist Pieces You Can Get Right Now!

We have hand picked our top 10 favourite feminist pieces that you can get your hands on right now. From tees to totes and necklaces, these pieces will help you to express your feminist identity through your wardrobe and smash the stigma around the F-word!


  1. The Female Collective – Girl Power Tee

Female Collective TeeThe Female Collective, $30, Size XS to XL

We love the striking iconic print on this unisex tee, timeless and versatile, this is the perfect addition to your feminist wardrobe. The Female Collective, based in LA, was established as a movement to uplift and empower women, check out their range!

2. Elizabeth Ilsley – Hand Painted Custom Jackets

Elizabeth Ilsley Jacket

Elizabeth Ilsley, Email for Commissions

Ilsley’s provocative designs are aimed at “empowering women and getting rid of taboos“, which she evokes through  her hand painted art on jackets, boots and jeans. At just 21 years-old, Ilsley has commissioned for Slaves and her collection is set to grace Liberty of London.  Check out her collection here.

3. Feminist Apparel  – Activist Socks

Feminist Apparel Socks

Feminist Apparel, £9.10, US Size 6-10

Feminist Apparel have been combatting the stigma around feminism since launching in 2013 and they have taken smashing the patriarchy one *step* further by adding a feminist sock collection to their line. Now you can stay *grounded* in your feminist roots…


4. GRLCLB – Custom Stitched Tees 

GRLCLB Tees.jpg

GRLCLB.com, £15-£25, Size XS – XL

The GRLCLB collective hosts a blog with a shop of hand stitched tees with empowering and thought-provoking messages. The tees are single-handedly made by  #GRLBOSS Roobs who also takes commissions for designs. We love the current and meaningful feminist statements made with each top.

5. Denise Bidot- There Is No Wrong Way To Be A Woman Tee

Denise Bidot Tee

A Denise Bidot Brand,  $32.99, Size S-XXL

Plus size supermodel Denise Bidot launched the There Is No Wrong Way To Be A Woman campaign to encourage women to feel confident and comfortable in their own skin, irrespective of the restrictive beauty standards imposed on us. We love the authentically diverse ad campaign used for the collection. About time! See it all here www.thereisnowrongwaytobeawoman.com

7. Modern Women – Feminist Art Tote

SFG Feminist Tote.png

Modern Women, $15

LA designer and artist Sarah Faith Gottesdiener established the pro-art, pro-feminist brand Modern Women which promotes intersectional feminist messages on totes, tees and prints. Now you can shop with feminist style with this statement tote!

8. I Don’t Want To Be A Princess – Tee


I Don’t Want To Be  A Princess, $24.99, S-XXL

The mission behind the I Don’t Want To Be A Princess movement is much needed. Girls are reinforced with pink, frilly messages that they will grow up to be a princess, with the silent ladylike behaviour that goes with it. This movement launched t-shirts for girls and women with an alternative; the tees make statements such as ‘Fierce’ and ‘Confident’, providing girls with a broader and more empowering outlook of who they can aspire to be.

10. Love From Hetty & Dave – Frida Kahlo Necklace 

Hetty Necklace.jpg

Love From Hetty & Dave, £20

Pay homage to the ultimate feminist artist, Frida Kahlo, with this handmade leather necklace. What better way to demonstrate your feminism than by having Frida dangling around your neck? We love the matching earrings and brooch too!


We have launched a CrowdFunder page so you can now support our mission of sustaining positive social change through fashion here –> http://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/ProjectFEM “One bee can’t frighten an elephant, but a swarm of bees can kill it”. Let’s unite and make the difference we need to see in the world!


Author: Holly C x

Fashion in Iran: Censorship, Activism and the Revival

The fashion industry in Iran has very much seen its downfall in the past year. Lets rewind back to 2015, where there was an insurgence of fashion shows with agencies such as Behpooshi and Darab who were government approved to run fashion shows. Things were starting to look positive for the future of fashion in Iran. Designers, models, stylists and photographers were slowly emerging from the underground fashion scene to make an impact on this monumental shift in industry. 


(Models at Behpooshi preparing for a show)

But within the last year, the Iranian government rained on everyone’s joyous fashion parade, and shackled the industry with the iron bars of censorship. Shackling, in the literal sense for some. Earlier this year and towards the end of 2015, there was an Instagram controversy storm, whereby over 100 industry people (including models, photographers and make up artists) were arrested in a covert crackdown nicknamed ‘Operation Spider 2’. Javad Babayi, Head of cybercrimes court has been quoted in an Iranian local news agency suggesting that the covert operation is being used as a means to, “monitor (the) use of social media by western imperialism powers to change Iranian – Islamic lifestyle 

As a writer, I am currently sitting and writing in the comforts of my western privilege whereby I have the freedom of speech and expression. Notoriously, Iran is not so well known to advocate for these rights. A concept many Iranian industry experts were well aware of. Behpooshi and Darab in particular famously confined under the regulations of the Iranian government in that they ran their agencies in accordance with Islamic values and also used their platforms to promote Iranian fashion rather than the western imperialist dominance Mr Babayi was so concerned about. Behpooshi site has actually (within the last couple of weeks in fact) been shut down.  

13552643_10206532283727472_176808050_n(From the Behpooshi website)

So why then, were prominent Iranian figureheads such as Elham Arab arrested for “promoting western promiscuity”? Whilst male models and fashion influencers were also arrested, the majority of the arrests fell amongst female models that dared to post photos without the required hijab. Are these arrests concerning the clamping down on western influence, reinforcing Islamic values or is it simply the classic dominance of the patriarchy?


(Elham Arab in court)

The Iranian fashion industry is a huge market, with so much potential and talent. If the industry acts within the confines of Iranian- Islamic values as previously proposed, there is no reason why the Iranian government should not champion the production and influence of fashion within the country. Islamic fashion is certainly gaining momentum, with Dolce and Gabbana releasing a line of headscarf’s and Islamic clothing. With the likes of the popular Iranian fashion brand Pooshema, who are pushing boundaries by creating colourful, modern, shorter styles of the traditional manteaux, there is still hope for a revival in the Iranian fashion industry.  


(Dolce and Gabbana)


(Spring Summer 2015, Pooshema)

I managed to get into contact with Mahan Farokhmehr, the mastermind behind Darab. Darab describes itself as:

“A designer of special events and conferences in the fashion field. It expands the innovative designs and fashions and follows international professional designers in the way of creating novel and diverse ideas in the fashion industry.”


Darab has recently been dismantled. As a beacon of hope in changing and innovating the fashion industry in Iran, the disintegration of the brand will be a shock to many. Mr Farokhmehr has said that his decision on this matter is due to the “industry, as it became the biggest risk for those who want to spend their time and energy on this field”. On discussing the decline of the fashion industry in Iran, Mr Farokhmehr expressed his disappointment: “we were hopeful when we started, because we thought we could do something in this industry.”


This certainly is not the end of Mahan Farokhmehr career. He is already looking to expand and culminate young Iranian talent from the underground fashion scene. Below are designs by Nastaran Hashemi, which Mr Farokhmehr helped procure and shoot.  


We did Modern But With Traditional Textile and Touch Which Made It look Fashionable and at the same time traditional cause I had this concept in mind that we have to do something that involve our culture and traditions” Mahan Farokhmehr

The fashion industry is a new phenomenon in Iran, and my goal is to display a new point of view by presenting designs inspired by different cultures and beliefs, and merging them together, so I can introduce Iran to the global world of fashion –Nastaran Hashemi

With the likes of Mahan Farokhmehr, Nastaran Hashemi and the mighty underground fashion scene, there is hope that there will be a revival of creativity and fashion in Iran.

Author: Nasim Salad