The fashion houses of the West are under attack for glamorizing the hijab, which in much of the world is seen as a symbol of female subjugation.
Executives at the likes of Dolce and Gabbana and H&M attracted the ire of campaigners in Iran, who are often violently punished for breaking Islamic laws which force them to cover up in public.
They complained that high fashion shoots showing off trendy, sparkly versions of the Islamic veil help to normalize the practice elsewhere.
The resistance to the latest trend came via the My Stealthy Freedom social media campaign, which frequently highlights how Iran’s “morality police” prey on women for minor and arbitrary infractions.
A post by activist Masih Alinejad said:
Now that Dolce and Gabbana, H&M, and Nike have supported women in veil, we call on these brands to support us as well because we are also fighting for our freedom of choice.
Don’t forget that there are millions of women who are forced to wear compulsory hijab from they age of 7 when they start school. If there women were to refuse to wear it, then we wouldn’t be able to get an education or a job. They wouldn’t even be able to live in their own country.
Be our voice to fight against compulsory hijab. Why won’t you help us to be heard?
Activists in Iran often feel abandoned by Western feminism, which is notably timid when it comes to challenging Islamic countries for their treatment of women.
Heat Street has detailed some of the abuses which have emerged on social media – including a woman who was punched in the face for wearing ripped jeans, and another who was surrounded on the streets of Tehran and taken in, screaming, for apparently having her veil slightly too far back on her head.
Officers were filmed yesterday running over a woman with a police van after they pulled her over for driving with her hair too exposed.
Earlier this year, Iranian activists got in a tussle with the government of Sweden.
Despite claiming to operate a “feminist foreign policy”, ministers from the Scandinavian state disappointed many by wearing hijabs during a trade visit to Iran, at the behest of the authorities.
They eventually apologized.