Article: Passport to Persia

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Picnicking is taken very seriously in Iran and occurs at all times of day or night, and in any location.

Inspiring take on travelling in Iran from Bex Hughes in Suitcase magazine

Steering clear of a politicised account depicting Iran as a closed country, this article portrays a modern and progressive Iran where change is in the air, women are tour guides and their fashion habits are pushing the boundaries of what is permitted.  

A small but ever-growing sector of Iran’s workforce is female, and women consistently make up around 60 per cent of the country’s annual university intake. They may not have it easy, but Iranian women are educated, increasingly independent and slowly gaining prominence in the public space. 

Rather than a negative perspective, Hughes concentrates on the many reactions to social repression in Iran and how a shift may be taking place.  

Alongside the beautiful mosques and archaeological heritage are the “impenetrable jumble of concrete high-rises and traffic clogged highways” of Tehran.  A city of “mad energy”, Hughes describes its vibrant art scene, fashion boutiques and a youthful population keen to shrug off Iran’s recent conservative past.  Illicit use of social media is extensive, Western media and culture are widely known, couples meet in coffee shops and trendy restaurants and nose jobs are common.  What is more, the people are warm and picnicking is practically a national obsession. 

Although for citizens of some countries Iran may still be relatively difficult to enter, Iran is changing and seems ready to shatter preconceptions.  

The article is published in SUITCASE 13 along with a gallery of photos from Tehran-based artist, Shirin Aliabadi, called the ‘Miss Hybrid Series’ and which focuses on the fashion trends of young Iranian women:

More photos of Iran from Alexander Fritz can be found on SUITCASE’s website. 

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