Persian Gulf Fashion

The Persian Gulf region (yes, it is called the Persian Gulf, not the Arabian Gulf - we don't care what Google says) is unlike anywhere else in Iran.  Like many border regions, the population is ethnically, culturally and racially mixed.  There is a great deal of African influence in the Gulf region's music and clothing style, perhaps because Africans were brought to the Gulf as part of the slave trade in the 17th century.  Today, a careful listener can still hear African rhythms in "Bandari" music, referring to the port city of Bandar Abbas.  The traditional dances of the region are also evocative of tribal dances in Mali. 

  Women in the Persian Gulf region prefer colorful outfits over the drab black chadors commonly seen in the North. It is a tradition that dates back to at least the Sassanid Era, during the reign of Khosrow I in the 6th century. It was at this time that people developed expertise in designing garments with gold silk thread and sequins. Soon, they were exporting these fashions instead of silk thread, and they were frequently worn by women in the king's court at Persepolis and Pasargadae. A few years ago, archaeologists found silk threads and sequins in the tomb of Bibi Sharbanoo, an important figure in the Sarjouki Era. These designs are on display in museums worldwide, such as the Kremlin Museum in Moscow.

The intricate designs remained in high demand. As recently as the Pahlavi Dynasty era, the Shah would send garments with these designs, called khalat, to court favorites; the ones delivering the gifts were known as khalat-bar.


Women would often gather in their courtyards or in the front of a home during the cooler morning hours to work on the embroidery.

For the trousers shown below, the sequins would be rubbed with a certain seashell, called a gor. It is the only kind that created the desired effect of making the sequins lie flat.


Today, this embroidery is a dying art. Girls and women pursue educations and professional careers and do not want their mothers to engage in such labor-intensive work. Those who have these fashions tend to preserve them for special occasions, such as weddings.

Click here to see a short video of a Bandari wedding procession among the disaspora in Sweden.


Sistani-Baluchestani Bandari Bandari
Traditional Dress Traditional Dress in pink Traditional Dress in blue/multi
$150.00 Out of Stock $250.00 $150.00


Traditional Embroidered Trousers    

These eye masks are also known as Maqna'a or boregheh. Their origin is unknown.

Eye Mask 6

Eye Mask 7

Eye Mask 8

Q1 $45.00

Q1 $45.00

Q1 $45.00

Eye Mask 9

Eye Mask 5

Demonstration (mask not available)

Q1 $39.00

$39.00 Out of Stock