Hali Magazine Article: A View from New York
With its dynamic interior design industry, New York City has long been a national and international style setter. As such the Big Apple is also at the center of the world’s carpet market, and the Nazmiyal Collection is one of the city’s most active dealerships in high quality antique and vintage Oriental and European carpets and rugs, operating from a large gallery space on East 32nd Street at the heart of Manhattan’s traditional rug district.
As we outlined back in 2011, Nazmiyal and his team have also been successful pioneers in generating antique carpet sales through focusing on the company’s proprietary website (Hali 167, pp.173-175). At the same time his gallery, has also played host to many antique rug gatherings including Hajji Baba Club and ICOC events.
The firm’s large inventory consists of more than 4,000 old and antique carpets, the great majority of which are Persian. So like all US-based rug dealers (and collectors), the end of the embargo on the import and export of Iranian made goods is welcome news for Nazmiyal’s business.
In conversation with HALI about a wide range of subjects, including the particular impact the US embargo had on his business, Nazmiyal, who has unique perspective on the antique carpet market, remarked:
‘Since we are established internationally the embargo made it difficult for us to sell our antique Persian rugs outside of the USA. ‘
I didn’t know that it was possible with the right licences to export Persian rugs during the embargo period but Nazmiyal explains:
‘To ship our Persian rugs outside of the USA, we were forced to file for an export license from the office of Foreign Asset (OFAC). Over the years of the embargo, we obtained over 200 export licenses, but we also lost a significant amount of overseas sales because projects had time constraints and they could not wait to obtain the export license.’
On the subject of the potential post-embargo market in the USA for Iranian carpets both antique and contemporary, we asked whether he thought Persian rugs were still considered a prestige luxury item in the USA. He replied:
‘Persian rugs were synonymous with the best and finest rugs one could buy, they were considered as status symbols. Record prices recently paid at auction for great classical Persian carpets such as the Clark Sickle-leaf Kerman throne carpet (see pp.140-147) are important high points. That said, however, over the last 30 years, irrespective supply problems caused by sanctions, we have seen a significant drop in demand for new Persian goods, mostly due to lack of promotion and lack of fresh and innovative designs and colours.’
In conversation one of the things that Nazmiyal keeps returning to is that many of the makers of new carpets in Iran have lost touch with the colour trends and design tastes that drive contemporary interiors consumers.
‘Many newer interior designers and the younger baby boomers are much more interested in contemporary and minimalistic designs. The Persian rug industry will now need to evolve and begin to learn how to adapt to meet these new stylistic demands.’
(This article was published in Hali Magazine Summer 2016 Issue 188. We urge you to view the Hali Magazine website at: http://www.hali.com/)