How Behpooshi became the first model agency in Iran. Interview.
Yes there is a model agency in Iran. An official one, founded by Sharif Razavi 7 years ago. It’s Behpooshi. The agency is even a partner of the official Fashion Week of Tehran. Of course we were curious and of course we had a a business interview with Sharif. From Tehran to Paris:
Persiennes: Hello Sharif, how did you get the idea, 7 years ago to open a model agency in Iran?
Sharif Razavi: At the beginning, when i started, it was very difficult. It was even dangerous since at that time models’ agencies were not fitting with standards of behaviour. Especially, no legislation supported this kind of project. Quite the opposite. It was very badly seen to have this type of activity. From a legal point of view there was a gap and almost all my own circle was opposed to my project. Globally, everything was against us. But I persevered by seeing the potential of the fashion market, already growing. With a so young Iranian population, there was real opportunities. We persisted, the fashion began to be legally supervised, we fought for it and we started and now we’re growing up in Iran. We are happy that international magazines talk about us. We are still small!
Persiennes: What was your ambition when you founded Behpooshi?
Sharif Razavi: Above all, i thought of the Iranian youth which needed to express itself and become emancipated at this time. For me, I offered them a new ground of legal expression. They also helped to make Behpooshi a success. Then, I said to myself that Behpooshi could be an actor of the fashion industry who would help this one to develop, to develop the culture of the country and to structure its market. That’s why Behpooshi is not only a “models’ agency” but also a cultural ambassador in the fashion and the Iranian beauty. Behpooshi is not a just based on the appearance of the models!
Persiennes: How do you see fashion in Iran the next 3 years?
Sharif Razavi: I think that each year in Iran is a progress in the fashion industry for the country. With the sanctions to be lifted, the numerous emergent designers, and the interest of international brands for Iran, it will get better and better.
Persiennes: You talked about a “Revolution” in an interview to The Guardian. Can you explain that?
Sharif Razavi: Still a few years ago, fashion was considered as a tool of destruction of the Islamic culture in Iran. But since the Ministry of Culture and the Islamic Orientation adopted a special law for the activities of the fashion industry, it was the real revolution and it is in that sense i’m using this word. Everything has to be obviously in compliance with the legal authorizations but there is a real opening for all markets participants.
Persiennes: How do you hire your models?
Sharif Razavi: We are not advertising yet. So, most of the models are spotted in Iranian cities where I travel. Many models are in small remote sites and can’t afford to come to Tehran. We hope that with the opening of the country to the West, we will get a chance to develop our networks and models.
Persiennes: What’s next for Behpooshi?
Sharif Razavi: I want to develop an educational method for the Muslim countries, we keep the moral rules while developing our activities. These two are not incompatible! I would like to open other offices in new cities in Iran, and i would like Iranian models collaborate with international brands but that, I do not still know if it is possible yet. To be continued! We have many plans for the future.
Many thanks Sharif!
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