‘Everything changes. We have to hold on to pieces of our past, to be able to imagine our future. I do this through fashion, the art of combining past symbols, patterns and colors in new ways. It allows me to travel through centuries, delve through their gems, carry them to the present, and offer them up on a mere square of silk.’
Reza Kalani was born in Tehran in 1978. At the age of 9 he used his first sewing machine, producing winter hats for his father’s company. Although he graduated in mathematics and physics, he never forgot his first love, fashion. He continued designing, and focussed on scarves. In 2001 he opened his first shops, the Emperor Scarf and Queen Boutique. His designs became a brand for stylish Tehran fashionistas.
In 2011 he left Iran and moved to the Netherlands. From the beginning he felt a connection to his new home country, its innovation, its history, its art.
Kalani literally refashions visual art. He is inspired by the old Dutch Masters of the Golden Age. He longs to take them out of the timeless and still rooms where they are conserved and bring them again into the streets, make them part of the daily life.
This he does by combining elements of old paintings with abstract patterns and printing them on chic scarves. The effect is striking: it is as if we see these paintings through a glass pane, warped by centuries. The past is present, but not as it was, it has been given a form fitting for these times.
Kalani uses a combination of two different cultures, of different periods of history, which join naturally, like poles of a magnet, in his design.
This is Kalani’s mission: blowing the dust off these incomparable works, breathing new life into them, sending them out into world, but in a shape which fits the 21st century.