Sahar Shahamat is a Tehran-based designer. Born in 1973, Sahar received a B.A. in Graphic Design from Tehran's prestigious Art University. She is a set, stage and costume designer, who started her theater career in 1997. She focuses on designing artistic costumes and sets in theater and cinema, while also working as a fashion designer, creating fashionable clothes especially designed for Iranian women.

I met Sahar Shahamat in New York a few months ago and we had a chance to talk for a few minutes. I would like to show you her Winter 2011 collection, as well as her summer 2012 collection.

Shahamat's fashion designs are deliberate and despite their adherence to the Islamic dress code, hijab, are quite uninhibited. She writes about her work, "...In the present project, the goal is to revive aesthetical aspects of body which are very important in the history of eastern clothing, and nowadays, because of obligatory Islamic hijab, are repressed and forgotten. In the first look it is obvious that I have chosen the full hijab, and this is not only because of the constraints imposed by the Iranian government. My goal was to show how the rich tradition of fashion design in the East can revive the body through full clothing, how it can show the very truth of body as a self-stimulus phenomenon, and approve its aesthetical status."

"Through using some elements of eastern cultures, like vivid colors, designing with flowers, etc., which are forgotten and marginal in contemporary Iranian society, I have tried to show that social limitations of fashion designing should not stop creativity. In the heart of Eastern tradition, we can free ourselves from black and gray clothes which are favorites of the governments, and we can pass obligatory, governmental clothes without being labeled as 'wesernized.' This form of designing is an internal challenge to limitations, which is more effective that any kind of external challenge. I believe that the best kind of dealing with restrictive traditions, is to make them rebel against themselves."

Photos by Azadeh Akhlaghi (


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