Fashion is Freedom
written and narrated by Tala Raassi
Audible Studios (audiobook)
Whether you favour bikinis, burkinis or neither, this book will have you thinking about the politics of fashion. Iranian-American swimwear designer Tala Raassi starts her tale in Tehran in 1988, when she was imprisoned and given 40 lashes for having been found at her 16th birthday party in a miniskirt. To give her children a new start, her mother moved them back to the US, where, at 21, Raassi started planning a fashion line. Her breakthrough item was a “Forty Lashes” T-shirt featuring slashed fabric on the back. Then came her swimwear brand Dar De Dar (Farsi slang for “lost and all over the place”), media interest in her story, and, in 2010, a Miss Universe pageant PR coup. As interesting as Raassi’s story is the backstory of the repercussions of the Islamic Republic’s “culture war” against Western influence.