10% of Barjis London profits are invested in our not for profit organisation: The Barjis Initiative. For more information please visit our website.
My Sister’s Wedding Dress
My journey in Fashion was by pure accident.
I was studying sciences at A level, aspiring to become a Doctor, taking the traditional South Asian career path was seen as the most sensible thing to do.
30 years ago, I was given the task to design my sister’s wedding dress. I didn’t even think about Fashion as a career but as I was creative, it was deemed the most natural thing to do. Now looking back I don’t know how I was brave enough to design a wedding dress with no formal training!
Let’s say designing my sister’s wedding dress was not easy. My sister is a perfectionist and even hiring me to do her makeup was quite a tall order. She said that she doesn’t trust the beauty parlours in Pakistan for her make-up, they plaster the face with foundation and she wanted a more natural look considering the dress is embellished and bright.
The wedding dress had influences from our Rajasthani roots, the gold bangles and the jewellery were the key features in the look, hence I had to design a dress that would compliment them. The bangles are made of 22k gold foil on a white plastic bangle which is synonymous with Rajasthani culture. The long intricate and heavy gold jewellery is another Rajasthani tradition passed on from generations.
As you can see from the first picture (below), Rajasthani women wear ivory plastic bangles, this is to protect them from the evil eye and are worn during the woman’s married life and given to her as a dowry on her wedding. The 2nd black & white picture is of my beautiful mother, who is wearing these ivory bangles on her wedding day.
My sister was inspired by a Bollywood movie Khuda Gawah featuring Amitabh Bachchan and the late Sri Devi. The dress has an Arabic silhouette, with Pakistani embroidery, Rajasthani jewellery and a Balochi hairstyle. The 3 cultures clashing: Rajasthan, Pakistan and the Middle East; gave it an eclectic look and in this case – it worked well – as the heavy jewellery was what I based the look around, so we couldn’t go for a minimal look.
The result was this Fuschia coloured zardozi, embroidered wedding dress. This inspired me to drop medical school and apply for Art college. The rest is history.
Fast forward, I designed my wedding dress and several other bespoke wedding dresses. These I will share in my future posts.