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The Iranian Eldorado

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For years, the sanctions against Iran have stifled its economy. The recent lifting of sanctions, however, is breathing new life into the market and luxury brands know it.

With its 77 million inhabitants, Iran is a promising market for luxury brands. A large part of this population belongs to a middle class that has a high purchasing power. Despite years of sanctions, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) puts Iran’s per-capita GDP (gross domestic product) at $16,500.

Jean-Christophe Babin, CEO of Bulgari, explained, “There is a large middle class in Iran and they are increasingly coveting luxury goods. The country is the next big market in the Middle East.” The Italian house is planning to open its first boutique in the Iranian capital, which it says is a luxury paradise in the making.

In fact, only a handful of Western brands currently own shops in Tehran; these include Mango, Benetton and Escada. Others, such as Lancôme cosmetics, Yves Saint Laurent Beauty or Make Up Forever, have taken serious steps to revive sales in Iran, benefitting from the absence of American brands.

Still, in the streets of the capital, luxury brands are enthroned on billboards. Rolex, Chopard and Louis Vuitton line the walls of the city.

Internet, social media and television networks are expression vectors. These means of communication now allow wealthy Iranians to show that they are successful and they can afford luxury products.

In recent years, many changes have taken place in the country. Luxury brands from the West have settled, but the talented Iranian designers are now also offering high-quality products. As a result, the first Iranian Fashion Week took place in February, followed by a second one in July. This is a significant step forward for the country, paving the way for future generations.

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