Michael & Hushi:
Iranian Glamazons & Revolutionary Chique
editorial by:
Amir Nadimi
Born in Iran and living in the West for over 25 years, Hushidar
is the renegade design partner of Avant Garde couturier
duo "Michael & Hushi". Based in New York's East Village, Michael
and Hushi's decade long partnership has been characterized by their
roots and life experiences. Hushi brings his distinct persian style
and flare to their creations ranging in influences from Qajaris and
Qashqais to Googoosh and Revolutionaries.

Their design aesthetic is a potent mix of politics and kitsch, with
costume jewelry sharing space with provocative items like
'Long Live Iran!' T-shirts and
Palestinian flag scarves -- all slashed
and deconstructed to trendy perfection. The duo veers away from the
Persian Punk theme with more elegant items like tiered scarf
dresses and ruffled blouses. They sets themselves apart from their
peers by creating each detail themselves, embroideries and hand
painting included.

Probably the most controversial and unique designers of their time,
in a recent show Michael and Hushi caused a stir among attendees
by sending machine gun-brandishing models down the runway
wearing traditional Iranian chadors. Printing such subversive
messages as death to imperialism and Iranian women are the jewels
of the world on dainty lace, "I tried to reach a contradiction in
itself-supporting Islam but calling for women's rights to choice of
dress."  Mortezaie says.
The Guerrila Designer says that he
considers himself  "a very political
person" and that it is reflected in his
work. Mortezaie who isn't a very
commercial designer says he is
increasing that aspect with every runway
show. From jewelery to shoes every
detail is handmade by both Mortezaie
and Sears. The duo have been called
upon such stars as Madonna, Christina
Aguilera and Britney Spears to design
for their shows and videos as well.
Superstar Brad Pitt also featured their
designs in the movie
FightClub. But
Madonna especially has been a fan for
several years and often buys from their
boutique.  In recent years, young artists
in NYC have been affected by the
sinking economy and their five year stint
with their first boutique came to an
abrupt end.
Yet following the events of September 11th, 2001 their sales went up,
"funnily enough The only thing they did buy was the militant
middle-eastern pieces after 9/11" remarks Mortezaie.
Unlike other middle eastern designers out there, Mortezaie's
attitude, flaunting his heritage and celebrating his identity  in
his designs truly makes him a courageous and gutsy artist.
Even at the cost of less profit and being chastized by critics
Michael & Hushi's designs still push the envelope of politics
and fashion with their Iranian glamozon meets Las Vegas
glitz and American pop.

Mortezaie concludes: "The middle east is the cradle of
civilization and it should be respected more. In the 70's, Iran
was the Paris of the middle-east. But now it is coming unto
it's own without western domination and is experiencing a
beauty and art renaissance. My life is an ode to the children
of this Iranian Renaissance who dare to be what they want. "

Amir Nadimi
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