Designer Tala Raassi believes that 'Fashion is Freedom'
Tala Raassi spent her life straddling two cultures. She was born in Maryland in 1981, but her family moved to Tehran, Iran, shortly after her birth and remained there until 2000. The Raassi family returned to the US following a traumatic altercation with the Basij and since, Tala has made quite a splash in the luxury swimwear scene. Raised Muslim, Tala was subject to strict rules regarding dress for women as she was growing up, but she’s used that experience to create a line that celebrates women’s right to choose what they put on their body.
Over the past 16 years, Tala has broken barriers and created a booming business. The 35-year-old designer spoke no English when she moved back to the US, but she never let that stop her. After enrolling in language classes and accepting a position at an Iranian owned bridal shop, Tala rediscovered her love of fashion. Within a few years she had opened her own boutique in Washington DC, where she became interested in swimwear design. Shortly after, she left the store and launched her own line, Dar Be Dar.
“Fashion is Freedom”
Raassi’s Dar Be Dar line is diverse and stunningly unique. She plays with colors and cuts in a way that many swimwear designers do not, opting for hip and innovative cut-outs just as often as more covered and demure looks. The swim line truly embodies the spirit of her personal outlook (and book title): “Fashion is Freedom.”
It’s obvious that, to Raassi, fashion truly means the freedom to innovate, to express yourself, and to feel comfortable in your own skin.
This freedom of expression through fashion is a luxury that Tala was not granted in her formative years.
Time at Vozara
Her family left Tehran following her arrest and brutal treatment at a frighteningly young age. It started when she was spending a quiet night with friends in the comfort and privacy of one of their family homes. The Basij, a militant Muslim police force in Iran, raided the home and, according to Tala, “they didn’t find any drugs or alcohol. The only items they found were foreign VHS tapes, satellite TV, Mariah Carey and Ace of Base cassette tapes, and 90210 posters.” But that was enough to take the teens into custody at Vozara Prison and hold them for days.