Monday, October 10, 2005

Iran Ready for a National Dress Code?

Farnaz Ghazizadeh, Rooz Online:
To some it may be news that not only are the Iranian police forces pushing for a national dress code in Iran but other institutions too insist on the dress code which has been under the review of the country’s parliament, known as the Majlis.

Iran’s Attorney General just recently again made reference to those who do not observe Islamic attire and said that the police is responsibility to confront those who do not respect Islamic law.

No one clearly knows what the dos and don’ts in the realm of public attire in Iran are, and this may be the reason why the current government, official supervising bodies as well as the conservatives within Majlis are not happy with what the Iranian public is wearing these days.

The plan to come up with a national dress code for Iranians - an old debate - is a persistent call of the law enforcement bodies who want a clear definition of how to deal with the crisis that the supreme leader has called an unpleasant cultural situation in the society.

Ahmadinejad's young advisors in Tehran’s municipality were the very first group that took the leaders’ complaint seriously and announced their plans to hold a national dress code design festival in autumn. A number of other university research departments followed the initiative. But Mehrdad Bazrpash who is the chairman of the group of young advisors to the president warned that “designing a national dress code requires deep and long-term expertise, and can not be completed overnight.”

The Majlis is also conducting comprehensive research on the national dress code.

The designers insist that the national dresses must be for both men and women although separate, they must be comfortable, pleasant, easy to cut, affordable and elegant. The dresses must also take into account Iranian customs and traditions.

With easy access to satellite television and the fact that young Iranians not only like but wear Western style clothing, it is difficult to accept that a dress code would really change the current habits and situation.

Although the plan has its supporters among some designers, they too concede that it will be hard to turn the national dress code into a public culture and even force the entire Islamic government to undertake to make such a drastic change.
Many assume that the dress code will only target women. Not many people talk about Iranian men's dress code that is currently following Western style of suits with only the tie missing.

Sociologists believe that it is difficult to convince Iranians to follow a dress code since forcing people to wear a specific dress goes against human nature. How one can assume that a dress code law in Majlis can make Iranians wear a comfortable dress code in the 21st century, they say. READ MORE