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In closet with Banafsheh, Dedicated to my mother

As I age, I notice something interesting happening. My layers shed one by one! It's as if I am revealing more of myself, allowing myself to be vulnerable and transparent. I had a photoshoot a few years back, and it was an excellent idea to let myself in front of the lens. The experience was eye-opening and soul-opening. It made me appreciate the recognition of family and the fascination with our physical appearances. It's incredible how we have changed and the acceptance and wisdom that shine through.
I couldn't help but notice, more and more, that I am starting to look like my mother, my aunt, and their aunt. As I look in the mirror, I see my mother's face in my own, her eyes and my eyes, and the color somewhere in between Mom and Dad.
Interestingly enough, my eyes almost appear yellow in the sun, which I attribute to the biological makeup inherited from my ancestors. I can also see my father's chin, forehead, and eyebrows, further reinforcing that biology is fascinating.
I recently created a book about my personal experiences with the Iranian style to familiarize my readers with Iran. For over 40 years, Iranian women have been covered under veils and long dresses, but despite this, we have still managed to shape and style our hijab in a way that shows off our culture and joie de vivre. Clothing and fashion are essential in my life, as they are the closest things that touch our bodies, which we need to respect.
This book is dedicated to my mother, one of the most influential women in my life. It's strange how time flies by, and it seems like just yesterday when my mom walked me to kindergarten. I close my eyes and, with a snap of a finger, suddenly realize that I'm at that age when I call my parents old.
I can still vividly recall her holding my hand as we walked to her favorite shoe store, where she would try on some fancy handmade shoes I would copy. I also remember watching my mom hit tennis balls like no one else I had ever seen. Her style, is impeccable! She was indeed a fantastic athlete.
My mother had a tailor making clothes on her body, fitting the fabric, stitching it, and cutting it little by little. And I observed that. She taught me about couture. She taught me how important it is to understand the art of clothing.
Style says a lot about us. Style is the description of what is pleasing! Style is something we are born with! Fashion is learned! Style is one's personality. It is how someone carries themselves whether in a sweet white simple t.shirt or a designer top. I look at clothes as art. And I'm the painted canvas.
But above all else, my mom taught me to be fearless. She encouraged me to take risks and never let fear hold me back.
Nonetheless, thanks to my mom's teachings, I know that I can face any challenge that comes my way with courage and determination.
Due to our political environment, many people are in the dark about Iran and Iranians. Still, I wanted to showcase Iran's rich artistic heritage, including traditional disciplines such as architecture, painting, literature, music, weaving, pottery, calligraphy, metalworking, and stonemasonry. Persian textile has always fascinated me. It has been shaped by the rise and fall of many different dynasties, powers, and influences, giving it a unique look and history impossible to replicate. This series is not just about the arts in Iran but also about how my mother influenced my sense of style and how fashion is not just a trend but an art form that requires discipline and energy. Creating this series was challenging; I had to put myself in front of the camera and reflect on who I am. But through this process, I realized the physical resemblance between my mother and me and how much we have in common. Women are powerful in Iran, and we have played fundamental roles throughout history, including in pursuing education. The purpose of this book was not to create a product for someone else but to share my personal experiences and insights with the world.

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