Iran’s Handmade Carpet Industry

For many carpet enthusiasts and traders, Iran is the original home of the “oriental-style” carpet. The earliest recorded rugs in Iran date back to the 5th century BCE; yet, it wasn’t until the 1800s that Persian rugs acquired the notoriety they still hold to this day. Persian rugs became known for their exquisite workmanship, matchless paisley designs, and superior raw materials. However, inflation, increasing prices as well as political and economic isolation—especially the U.S. embargo on Iranian goods – have taken their toll on the Persian carpet industry.

Today, one of the biggest struggles the industry faces in this country is a shortage of sufficiently qualified weavers – even though the working conditions and societal recognition of carpet weavers are significantly better in Iran than in most other carpet producing countries worldwide.

Label STEP in Iran

STEP began working in Iran in 1998 and is the only international organisation working with Iranian carpet weavers to systematically verify that their working conditions comply with international fair trade standards. STEP has been collaborating with local carpet producers and exporters to further improve the conditions for carpet weavers through programs that have improved access to social services.

Another major facet of STEP’s activities in Iran involves the support of nomad and tribal weavers and their communities. The Nomad School program provides the children of remote weaving communities, such as those in the South Iranian Zagros mountains, with access to education. By upholding the fair and equitable workplace conditions of weavers and forming ties between the rural and urban communities, STEP is working toward supporting the growth of more robust and skilled weavers who will help preserve the exceptional carpet culture in Iran.

Related Articles

No related articles found

Get Involved

Learn more about our Certified Label
STEP Fair Trade Partners.

Support weavers by becoming a Partner in the fair trade of handmade carpets.