Hoda Katebi is a self-described as “sarcastic (& angry) Muslim-Iranian, creative and community organizer.” Katebi is a political fashion reporter and first caught our eye with her remarks on the garment worker protests in Bangladesh as we continue to follow the story as it unfolds.
Katebi carved out a space on the web, JooJoo Azad (meaning “freebird” in Farsi), to tell her story and the story of fellow “hijab-wearing Muslim women through a celebration of our culture, tradition, identity, and history of resistance and struggle.” Her site also aims to bring light to a mission close to our heart, promoting a minimalist (in terms of consumption, not style of clothing) way of life. She uses her platform to promote social change and ethical brands. Katebi has even put together a boycott list of companies with violations of international human rights and labor laws, utilization of child labor, and/or immense environmental destruction -- with no plans of changing.
In 2016, Katebi wrote a book, “Tehran Streetstyle” the first-ever in-print documentation and celebration of illegal fashion in Iran. The book contains images of some of the best-dressed Iranian men and women walking the streets in the political and fashion capital of the nation_ Tehran. Actively challenging mainstream, often misrepresented and misunderstood Western notions of Iran and fashion as well as domestic government clothing regulations.
For her latest accomplishment, Katebi has created America’s first fashion production co-op for refugee women in Chicago called Blue Tin Production. It’s cheekily named after the blue Danish cookie tin customarily used by immigrant women to store sewing supplies. A lot of her work has been focused on garment workers’ rights and challenging fast fashion. She explains. “I thought if I could start a clothing line and make it successful and be completely ethical, then it would be so much easier to hold brands accountable.” Upon researching fashion production, she found it difficult to find any she could actually trust. Much of the fashion production that takes place in Los Angeles is staffed primarily with undocumented Mexican garment workers who get exploited [in the process].
She says, “I’m the daughter of immigrants, and knowing how difficult it is for immigrant and refugee women to find work, despite being so incredibly talented, is really wild. So I was just like, F it, I’ll do this myself!” she says with a laugh. “I wanted to put my own words to the test.” You can help support her efforts by donating here.