Remembering Farnoosh …

It was five years ago, the summer of 2012; I was starting Turning Fashion Inside Out and I met a lovely young woman named Farnoosh. Farnoosh shared her story about coming to the United States from Iran – with her parents and two sisters – and how they had to make adjustments to living in a completely new country and a new world. At that time, she was 12 years old and had to learn to fit in to a middle school environment which is not easy for any young person, let alone someone from Iran. She told me that initially, she chose to find her way through the clothes she wore. It was the first interview when I knew that we are all connected by our daily armour of clothing and our self expression, and when I truly understood the mission of my stories on TFIO. Five years later and Farnoosh is learning that she cannot travel to Iran, her home country, to visit her family. She is heartbroken. And I am heartbroken for her. I wish her and her family the chance to return to Iran very soon. I pull this story from my TFIO archives, and share again, Farnoosh’s story, as told to me in 2012. Here is Farnoosh:

Farnoosh: 2012

I always try to keep my style simple yet sophisticated.” Farnoosh

You meet Farnoosh and she looks like a typical American 22 year-old. Yes, she lives in America, and yes she is 22, but Farnoosh’s story is not typically American. Rather, it is other-worldly. The other side of the world, in fact, because Farnoosh was born in Iran and lived there until she was twelve years old. That is when she and her mother and father and two older sisters came to live in The United States. It was not her decision to come to America; “I was a little girl – I did not want to leave.” Farnoosh was living happily in Iran, in a city called Isfahan. She had her friends and her life, but her parents had three girls and they knew that their future would be limited if they stayed.

The year was 2002; it was not an easy time to be from Iran and move here, so soon after September 11th. It was certainly not easy for a pre-teen girl about to enter 7th grade and couldn’t speak a word of English. The first few years were very rough for Farnoosh – she remembers her Aunt (who had been living here already) picking out clothes for her, because she knew nothing about American fashion. Continue reading

Your thoughts?

I love comments. Feel free to share yours

Women of Iran are making more than a fashion statement

Play
Photo Credit: Niloofar Rezaee, Reuters

Photo Credit: Niloofar Rezaee, Reuters

This week Lisa Daftari, Fox News contributor, shed light on a growing fashion movement in her feature: Women of Iran defy mullahs by embracing western fashions. Showing political dissent by violating the dress code, people who now have access to social media, are defying the powers that be. According to journalist and political activist Mansoureh Nasserchian, “Social media gave the courage to the new generation to break taboos and be open about political and social issues.”

It is another reminder of the important role that fashion plays in our lives and why the way one dresses is significant. In this week’s podcast I share this story of global self expression.

 

Your thoughts?

I love comments. Feel free to share yours

Farnoosh’s sister

Farnoosh’s sister Fara

Do you remember Farnoosh? She moved to The United States from Iran ten years ago with her parents and two older sisters. We spoke about how difficult the move and transition was for her at the tender pre-teen age of twelve, about how Farnoosh views fashion, and about the need for us to express ourselves, no matter what our circumstance; even when restrictions are placed upon us and our expression comes in the form of colorful fashion accessories, as in the case of Farnoosh’s female cousin, who lives in a modern-day Iran.

I spent the last morning of 2012 having a cup of coffee with Farnoosh and her oldest sister, Fara (her middle sister, Farnaz, lives in San Diego). Fara is 29 and is living in Chicago as she pursues her Master’s Degree in Designed Objects from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Like her sister, Fara is lovely and creative and full of energy. She has her own story and relationship with fashion. Here is Fara …

“When we left Iran I was nineteen. It took me a while to get comfortable, but I was open to the move. I had already graduated from high school in Iran and had an idea that I wanted to be an artist. I stayed local when I first arrived, and for the first year and a half learned English as a second language at Seton Hall University. Immediately I knew that the school was too small for me and that I needed more. I was drawn to New York City and left Seton Hall for New York, where I attended NYIT, the New York Institute of Technology, and graduated with a degree in architecture …

I’m a city person and from the minute I came to New York I was happy. I loved the energy and the diversity and how people in NY are original, especially in the way they think and dress. My favorite thing to do became walking: I would walk everywhere! I was inspired by the streets and the windows. That might be why I dislike shopping in malls where everything is so generic and everyone looks the same. I can’t be linked to only one brand and one designer, head-to-toe. I like variety and dressing high and low. That is why I am a fan of H&M …

I would describe my look as chic enough but not too fancy. I enjoy mixing pieces and remaining eclectic. My passions remain shoes and handbags!” ~ Fara

Fara and Farnoosh have adopted their American life but also embrace their Iranian culture. We had an interesting conversation about what that means. I shared with them that I have Colombian blood and at one time I wasn’t comfortable embracing it, but as I get older, I understand that it is a major part of who I am and I treasure it. I guess that explains why I love Latin music and always want to start salsa dancing … even though I don’t know how!!

I hope I meet Farnoosh and Fara again soon – and meet their middle sister next – Farnaz!

What do you think?

P1030160

Fara with Farnoosh

P1030151

Fara with me

 

Your thoughts?

I love comments. Feel free to share yours