By Darius KADIVAR, reporting from London
PER5 : London Brand of Sexy T Shirts Highlight Your "Persianality"
Perhaps the biggest challenge in Iranian fashion history has been the struggle between the old and the new. Iranians have famously been fashion innovators trying to balance expectations of the different tastes in their community. One can see this in Iran today where despite strict vestimentary laws, designers and fashion creaters have displayed much creativity and even taste to curtail conventional and or traditional social restrictions.
For the diaspora also, since many reluctantly were driven away from their country, meaning that connecting with their heritage and culture has been all the more important.
The diaspora youth in particular, be it the first generation like myself, or the second generation which was born abroad, has had to overcome cultural and racial stereotypes. Not only as immigrants but also like all teenagers or young adults we were confronted with the universal dilemma of having to develop our individuality while trying to define a collective identity to which we could relate to.
Iranian fashion designers in the diaspora lost one of their great peers this year, Bijan Pakzad who certainly paved the road for much younger talents today like Amir or Nimany to name a few who are also setting examples for other creative ventures.
While on a trip to Great Britain this summer, I discovered a new brand of T Shirts worn by some friends at a party. The logo on the T Sirts representing a double headed bull struck me as familiar and I tried to find out more about the brand. I was told that it was produced by a company known as Per5 which produced them in London.
© PER5 & Photocomposition © DK
Given my insatiable curiousity about the latest innovative and creative activities in our Iranian diaspora community, particularly in Europe, I did my research and came across their website, contacted them, and got to sit with the creative and commercial team behind Per5 during a recent trip to London to talk about their venture.
Darius KADIVAR (DK): Congratulations on your new Shop! How did it come about?
Per5: We wanted to create a fun and stylish, casual brand. One that would appeal to a cosmopolitan audience. But we also wanted to tap into our Iranian backgrounds. The name ‘PER5’ will strike a cord with all Persians but is also abstract enough to have a much broader appeal. Hopefully we can follow in the footsteps of innovators like Nimany who have shown that we can have fun and still be trendsetting blending elements of our own culture with something as global as a t-shirt. We wanted quality to be the main driving force and differentiator. Our shirts are sourced and manufactured in Germany and we use only Swarovski Crystals in the womens range.
DK: What does your Logo symbolize ?
Per5: The logo again is instantly recognisable to most Iranians. It is inspired by the iconic double-headed bull from the the colomns of Persepolis. We have slightly styalised it of course. Again we wanted Iranians to identify with it but also for it to be an attractive and easily remembered brand logo for a wider audience.
DK: What is the inspiration for your designs?
Per5: At present we are keeping it simple and hoping to establish brand awareness. For men a simple high quality classic cut T shirt with subtle branding. For women we thought we would explore simple, hopefully ‘smile inducing’ words and phrases. Emphasis is always placed on the quality of the garments and simplicity of design. We are also working on a range of accessories which we will introduce gradually.
DK: What is your target market ?
Per 5 : Iranians all over the world who would like to identify with their culture in a subtle and contemporary manner.
DK: Who is a typcial Per5 Woman ?
Per5: One with lots of Persianality… something we have no shortage of.
DK : Who is a typical Per5 Man ?
Per5: Really anyone can wear these shirts. They look great with jeans and fantastic under a sports jacket or open shirt.
Author’s Notes :
Official Website of PER5: http://www.per5.co.uk/
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Other Diaspora related articles / Interviews on the British Iranian Community:
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Shusha Guppy: The Persian Girl of Saint Germain by Darius KADIVAR
Winds of Change: Darius Danesh cast as Rhett Butler by Darius KADIVAR
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KILLSHOT: Hossein Amini and Quentin Tarantino's New Pulp Movie by Darius KADIVAR
Tony Nourmand's Golden Eye by Darius KADIVAR
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About the Author: Darius KADIVAR is a Freelance Journalist, Film Historian, and Media Consultant. He has contributed to London Based IC Publications The Middle East Magazine and Persian Heritage Magazine In New York. He also produced documentaries for the London based Satellite Persian Diaspora Channel MANOTO TV.
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