Iraj is my Iranian born, 66 year old father. He is a man that was raised with traditional Persian values even though he moved to the United States when he was only thirteen years old. His values of marriage and masculinity have never faltered. He believes in classic silhouettes; tailored suits, button down shirts, and the occasional short and sweater are his style vocabulary. I grew up with this vocabulary, but it did not feel complete. I wonder why an Imam in Iran can wear an abba (a chiffon wrap) or a wrestler can wear a body suit that would dip into his belly button and it is considered masculine, but in the United States, where self expression is expected and gender norms have been supposedly expelled,
why is judgment still seen.
I began my thesis thinking about a uniform of clothes from my fathers perspective: a blazer, a tailored trouser, a button down shirt, a sweater, and a Bermuda short. These clothes represent a heteronormative point of view: something that my parents especially my father and the Persian society strive for their sons to look like. Many Iranians, including my parents left Iran in the 1980’s for opportunities in the West. Being normal was key in order to assimilate into American society. Growing up as a closeted gay man automatically took normalcy out of the picture.
What if an Imam was to wear a wrestlers body suit? What if a jock was to wear an abba? What are the new normals of masculinity in 2020, but at the same time how can I push it. I began to look at Faig Ahmed, an Azerbaijani visual artist, who took a traditional key in Persian culture and in the literal sense twisted, melted, and manipulated it. This along with the work of Gerhard Richter, I was able to create a philosophy of what I wanted to create. I wanted to disintegrate the idea of masculinity and melt my cultures together: wrestlers mixed with imam's, high school jocks mixed with clergy men, and debutantes mixed with
Iran’s guidance control.
At the end of it all, my family sat around and I showed my work. The only words that could come out of my cousin’s mouth was, “how is this normal, only women should be showing this much body”. I believe that, my collection will be a starting conversation for many in my community who still believe in the hereto-masculine norms of dressing. Even if they do not understand it now, hopefully in time they can learn to be more accepting and understanding of those who want to look different from them.
PHOTOGRPAHY: MADISON SMITH
MODEL: MICHAEL ANDREW
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Amir Taghi is a Texas born, New York based, women’s luxury ready-to-wear designer. His namesake label was launched in New York in 2018, with his design career beginning years before. Taghi’s namesake label was born out of his desire to make women feel beautiful, sophisticated and powerful. Taghi’s pieces balance timeless style while inserting a youthful edge.
Taghi presented his inaugural collection at the age of fifteen and continued to design and present made-to-measure pieces since. He went on to study design at Central Saint Martins University of Art and Design in London and Parsons School of Design in New York. After returning to New York, Taghi worked at Proenza Schouler, Oscar de la Renta, Monse, and Adam Lippes, working with the world’s most talented designers and couturiers.