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Nima Behnoud, Creative Director

Underground Fashion Designer Nima Behnoud

Many of us spent much of our awkward years in middle and high school trying to just fit in. Some of us might have taken interesting measures to get to the status of being “cool”. Nima Behnoud, 30, Creative Director of NIMANY Clothing, was no stranger to this. At just the age of 15, Nima acquired much of his popularity by putting his impressive art skills and keen business sense to good use. By designing and holding fashion shows that highlighted his work in underground Tehran, Nima found himself all the more richer and cooler. Fast forward 15 years and we still see Nima turning heads with his fashion designs with NIMANY Clothing. Take a moment to learn about Nima, how he got his start, what makes him so unique and why you should take interest in his design abilities as we feature him in this week’s Young & Professional Profile.


NIMANY Clothing


August 2003



Name, Title

Nima Behnoud
Creative Director




Tehran, Iran

Current residence

New York, NY


Fashion Institute of Technology, New York City, 2000



About the company

The concept of hand-modified clothing started when I was 15 with a group of friends. We made hand-distressed denim and held shows in the underground parties in northern Tehran. We sold them to the hipster crowd not to make money but to be cool!

Today the same hunger and fascination has turned into an organized clothing line — NIMANY — and now my dream is to show the world the magical teenage years that we had in Tehran. My focus is the lifestyle that got developed in the underground scene of Tehran and how modernity was born within an underground layer of a country like Iran.

The shirts are processed separately to create original colors before being silk screened with excerpts from classic Persian poetry by Rumi and Hafez, ancient Persian typography and other Persian motifs. NIMANY stacks the poems and graphics on top of each other to create visually gripping patterns. English-speaking customers may not know what the shirts say but they’re drawn to the compelling graphics.

What are your day-to-day responsibilities?

As a Creative Director of NIMANY, I oversee the design process of the line and makes sure the organic concept behind handcrafted clothing remains the same while the business is expanding. I study massive amounts of information that the team extract from ancient books and antique markets on Middle Eastern seals, motifs and writings.

I believe you can manifest yourself and ideas through the way you dress. Fashion is a language and what we wear will always be an icon of our surrounding. I try to tell a story with my fashion-line while staying true to the traditional laws of fashion.

Most notable milestones

Unfortunately, most of what we is presented today, through the context of Iranian culture and image in the art scene is a melodramatic and sad depiction. That detached and melancholy presentation of the Iranian life style bothers me; not because it does not exist, but because it completely ignores an entirely different face of life and energy, which drives and energizes the youth of Iran.

So we work hard to create a vision to show the world how beautiful this culture is and I think we have been successful on reaching some generations.

What’s the niche?

Mixing middle eastern icons and writings with modern fashion!

What’s the biggest challenge?

Studying the history of all the elements we pick and to make sure we stay true to our goal which is to demonstrate the beauties of one culture.

What’s in store for the future?

A lot of fun stuff! from Handcrafted Denims to jackets and belts.

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Best way to keep a competitive edge

To keep an open eye, even when you are sleeping.

Guiding principle in life

Listen to people all the time.

Yardstick of success

Working hard and having a story.

Goal yet to be achieved

To make everyone believe they can show the world what’s valuable to them and make it very acceptable.

Best practical advice

I will only sell what I would personally buy.


People who have changed something bravely and stood against the wind. My Mother and Father, My Teachers at Fashion Institute of Technology; Larry Toth, Fredrun Scholts, Suzzane Browne, Albert Lin. The designers who make me inspired on a daily bases: Marc Jacobs, John Galliano, Diane Von Fustenberg. The city of New York with its never ending energy which reminds me of Tehran so much!

What motivated you to get started?

I had to show everyone how my culture can be fashionable!

Like best about what you do?

I like everything about it – from designing a piece to the grunt work.

Like least about what you do?

You have to keep reminding yourself: “Stay Humble, you are nobody!”

At age 10, what did you want to be when you grew up?

To become an astronaut.

What was your first job?

Junior Illustrator at a Local Social / Political Paper at the age of 14.

Biggest pastime outside of work

Excitement from selling handcrafted Jeans in underground parties and making a lot of money for a 14 year old!!

Leader in business most interested in meeting

Steve Jobs! I want to know how Apple can stay so good all the time.

Three greatest passions

1. Fashion, Art and Entertainment
2. Travel
3. Discovery

Favorite book

Le Petit Prince.

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Interview by Myriam Bouaziz
Introduction by Sumaya Kazi
Edited by Sumaya Kazi

Also this week

Cristiane ValdezRaza Malik

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