Fashion brands

Iranian fashion brands move upmarket amid international sanctions

The 9th annual Iran Mode International Apparel Expo was held this week at the Tehran Permanent Exhibition Center in the Iranian capital.

The show, which ran from December 5 to 8, saw 167 national exhibitors showcase their products, ranging from apparel and accessories retailers and manufacturers to machinery companies and yarn and textile producers. Software companies offering retail design and management solutions were also present.

According to Ali Moradi, executive director of the fair, the event aims to facilitate national and international business opportunities for companies active or interested in the Iranian fashion market. Executives from local fashion brands such as Narian, Body Spinner and Sarak also attended.

Over the past decade, the Iranian fashion industry has faced an increasingly volatile and unpredictable economic environment, in large part due to international sanctions imposed by the UN, the United States and the United States. EU regarding Iran’s uranium enrichment program.

While some sanctions were briefly lifted under the Obama administration, they were reinstated under former US President Trump. The Iranian rial fell to a new low against the US dollar in September due to the impact of the pandemic and US sanctions on the Iranian economy. Talks to reinstate the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, an agreement that led to the lifting of sanctions, are currently underway as diplomats from six countries meet with their Iranian counterparts in Vienna, Austria.

Sanctions and the wider instability of the Iranian market have led to a dizzying increase in contraband fashion imports. The recent departure of international brands that entered the country while the sanctions were temporarily lifted left consumers with no choice but to purchase Iranian brands, many of which were in need of modernization and professionalization.

“We created the CIFB (Council of Fashion Brands of Iran) in [gathering] 170 retailers [who are] improve the quality of retail, ”says Prof. Alireza Jalili, professor at Tehran University and retail consultant.

Western sanctions have led Iranian fashion brands to source more textiles and raw materials from Chinese and Turkish producers. They also forced some local fabric suppliers to produce better quality fabrics as the market demanded more and more.

“Four years ago I couldn’t find good quality fabrics here, but now the quality of most [local] the products are better than Turkish products, ”said Ali Bahrampoor, director of menswear producer Kanirush, who had a pavilion at the fair.

During the pandemic, Iranian consumers, like their counterparts elsewhere, flocked to purchase fashion from e-commerce players and direct-to-consumer brands, accelerating the adoption of online shopping.

Abdollah Taheri, founder of Banimode, one of Iran’s largest online clothing retailers, has spent this year attracting more brands to his platform.

“During the pandemic years of operation, we recorded twice as many orders compared to the same period of the previous year. However, we still have problems supplying children’s lingerie, jackets and shoes, as these product categories require specialized machinery, ”he said.

Few foreign visitors attend Iranian fashion shows, especially during the pandemic period, but according to Arezoo Khosravi Farsani, senior design director of Iran-based Dorsa Jewelery, there were international attendees. She noted German visitors interested in the brand.

“We will be exporting our products in the near future,” she said.

In addition to this month’s Iran Mode International Apparel Expo, several other B2B fashion events make up the increasingly diverse Iranian fashion ecosystem, including October’s Tehran Modex and Iran. Retail Show in November. Although Tehran Fashion Week did not take place this year, a new tech-focused Techran Fashion Week has emerged.

According to Bahram Shahryari, vice president of the Iranian Union for the Production and Export of Textiles and Clothing, the Iranian fashion market is estimated to be worth $ 8 billion, of which 70 to 80 percent is commodities. domestic and the remaining 20-30 percent of the market is either smuggled imports or goods from foreign companies produced in Iran.

In recent months, there have been local reports of Bangladeshi clothing being rejected by European countries during the pandemic, imported into Iran and sold in local bazaars at low prices.

Iranian clothing exports reached over $ 113 million in the previous Persian calendar year 1399 (ended March 20, 2021 in the Gregorian calendar), representing a 99% year-over-year increase over the year. other, according to one Fiber2Mode report citing Afsaneh Mehrabi, director general of the weaving and garment industries department at the Iranian ministry of industry, mines and commerce.

According to Shahryari, Iran exports textiles and clothing mainly to two neighboring countries, Iraq and Afghanistan.

“Garment companies from other countries should visit here [because] Iranian market situation and Iranian brands have [evolved a lot in just two years]”said Khayam Asgari, owner of the Tehran Marketing School.

However, ongoing sanctions, exchange rate fluctuations, volatile commodity prices, and entry and exit bans continue to present a very volatile environment for local fashion and retail players. . Despite this, many remain optimistic about future business opportunities – especially if the sanctions are lifted.

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