This garment was obtained anonymously through contact with Dr. Reem on Instagram. He was interested in the work of the Zay Initiative and offered to help. He often travels between Dubai and southern Iran and he delivered four samples of these underpants to Dr. Reem via her driver. He didn’t reveal his real name and Dr. Reem never met him.
These underpants (shalvar) demonstrate a high quality of both fabric and workmanship. They are an excellent example of metallic (talli) and decorative cuff work from the southern part of Iran.
The similarities and the differences between these (sirwal) and their counterparts from the opposite side of the Gulf can be clearly detected. The workmanship is almost industrial, rather than the cottage-style craftsmanship which is still practiced in other parts of the region. The talli work is combined with hand embroidery on the fabric side of the pants, while the edging is accentuated with added gilded (zari) trimmings applied by hand in order to give more texture to the overall design.
The decorative cuffs are bordered by a row of embroidery in a flora and fauna motif. Above this border are two rows of embroidery in a multi-coloured floral motif.
The sirwal is fastened around the waist with an elastic waistband and at the ankles with black zippers.