Iran state media alarmed at English text on clothes

  • 14 July 2016
A video report by Iran's Fars news agency shows a woman with a top bearing the slogan "Keep calm, I'm queen". Image copyright Fars
Image caption State TV doesn't see the humour in the Western-inspired designs

A recent trend among Iranians to wear clothing emblazoned with English-language writing has prompted alarm in the official media.

A report on state-run Channel Two highlighted what it called a fashion to put "obscene", "Satanist" and "anti-religious" messages on men's T-shirts and women's tops.

Set to ominous music of the sort usually reserved for exposes of serious wrongdoing, the report features people sporting phrases such as "love", "not normal" and "no rules" on their outfits. One shot shows a person with their face blurred wearing a top with the words "Friday Night".

Of particular concern seems to be a women's range with the humorous slogan "Keep calm I'm Queen". It's apparently inspired by the popular British "Keep calm and carry on" image, but the TV channel has a different take, telling viewers that "queen" is a US slang term to describe "men who look like women".

Sellers appear taken aback by the media interest. One clothes shop owner tells the TV that there is strong demand for such products, but also blames their availability on an "import mafia". Other shopkeepers on a similar report by the Fars news agency - apparently unaware of being filmed - are heard complaining about "conservatives" making a fuss about a "minor issue".

The public's views appear to be mixed. One comment on the Fars website quotes Koranic verses on the need for hijab - the headscarf worn to comply with the Islamic Republic's clothing laws - but another responds: "If it were up to you [conservatives], we'd all wear black."

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