South Asian Fashion Photo Gallery
During South Asian Heritage Month UK, this photo gallery aims to showcase our South Asian Fashion Photo Competition hosted by Manchester Museum. The two Best Dressed people will be rewarded £50 each.
No voting limit.
To vote for the 2 Best Dressed people, please like their photos below.
The 2 most liked photos will be announced as prize winners on the 21st August!
Being South Asian encompasses my heritage, culture and identity. I would not be able to be unapologetically South Asian without understanding my ancestors and their history. I would not be able to be unapologetically South Asian without understanding the clothes we wear, to the food we eat and the family we share. I would not be able to be unapologetically South Asian without understanding my dual identity of being British- Bengali. Therefore, in educating myself about my background I have learned to love and admire the South Asian clothes we wear. They are stunning garments which beautifully represent women like me. From the intricate embroidery hand sewn by our South Asian mothers in Bangladesh to the ethereal jewellery handcrafted by our South Asian sisters in India, my South Asian clothes adorn me.
I am a British Bangladeshi and my parents made sure I visited Bangladesh and stayed in touch with my roots which I still do to this day. The love I have for Bangladesh is unmatched. Every single person there is a grafter, the people there have strength and a work-ethic like no other. They could have nothing yet still have the biggest smiles on their faces and their connection to faith is one of the strongest I’ve witnessed no matter what position they are in. To be Bangladeshi gives me pride. Pride because I know my country fought for their language, culture and independence for it to continue beautifully into the next generations. I hope I will always carry my South Asian heritage with strength and as beautifully as they do. This is how South Asian clothes make me feel; strong, proud and beautiful.
As a Sri Lankan female I feel that it’s so important to celebrate my culture and identity and to be a role model to others. I feel that wearing clothes which represent my culture is important - not only for me but for my family in Sri Lanka to see that I am celebrating my culture. I did not feel that I had the role models during my time in school and this held me back from pushing boundaries and accessing opportunities. My South Asian heritage is my identity and I want to celebrate my achievements but also ensure that I can become a role model for others. I want to continue to educate myself so that I can support those who are very keen to become future leaders of the future.
Being South Asian when I was younger was always about the clothes. I loved shopping for Eid outfits. I would go to weddings just so I could stand on my chair and watch the bride walk in. I had a prized collection of bangles I would wear on special occasions. I still have some of my outfits now that have been passed down to my younger sister. It was always so weird to me that sometimes people would make fun of South Asians for their clothes. But like look at them? They’re stunning! I mean yes, they're definitely itchy because of all the embroidery, but still, you wear them and you automatically feel like a boss.
Having grown up in a western culture, I’ve found that your true identity can easily be lost and forgotten. Being a South Asian woman living in the UK is challenging but having such beautiful clothes to represent and remind you of your culture is very powerful. It’s more than just clothes, it’s my identity, it’s a depiction of my Nepali heritage and it’s a way to visually express and appreciate my unique culture. Being South Asian is something to always be proud of, the clothes is a reminder of our blood and a part of our legacy that will be carried down.
Being South Asian is such an important part of my identity. With two British Bangladeshi parents I’ve been lucky enough to be brought up with my culture. In all honesty, it can be hard juggling being South Asian and being brought up in the West however, being surrounded by incredible, like-minded people makes it easier to express all parts of myself. My garments are colourful, bright and filled with sparkle (a little like my loud personality) and I’m here for that! I love how our clothes make a statement, they’re subtly expressive and make us South Asians feel a different type of pride and confidence. That’s just my take on it. Happy South Asian Heritage Month!
What I love about embracing South Asian fashion is that every garment, print detail, style and embroidery tells the story of which region the garment is from. There is something so empowering about dressing up in our traditional clothes, which is another jigsaw that is a part of the story of where we come from. Each thread connects us back to our ancestral lands. I also love seeing people from other cultures dress in their traditional clothes. Wearing a Sari, Sharara suit, Salwar Kameez, Lengha or Anarkali makes me feel like a maharani (queen); and that is exactly what we are.
Being South-Asian means my identity is influenced by a mix of cultures. In the same way that a saree can be draped in several ways and come in different materials, being South Asian is the equivalent to being multifaceted and multicultural. Wearing a saree is not only reflective of this but also symbolises the diversity of women who wear this traditional clothing. As a Bangladeshi woman, I am proud to share this aspect of my culture with fellow South-Asian women, transcending the borders and boundaries that too often define our histories.
My South Asian aesthetic is all about fusion -
a garment as traditional as a saree but with a modern geometric digital print. I’ve worn this saree numerous times with different blouses and accessories, it’s a kaleidoscope of greens, blues and purples and I feel awesome when I wear it.
Being from a South Asian background, specifically Bangladeshi, I am very passionate about my heritage and how much beauty it possesses. Our traditional fit is very unique and it's something I really enjoy wearing. The comfort, the design and the overall look of South Asian clothes is amazing. My favourite being the black Kurta. However, I also enjoy wearing the Sherwani as it brings a sense of class and respect towards my style.
To be South Asian to me means pride. Pride in our culture, our heritage, our food, our spices and our resilience. To be South Asian also means that I adore the celebrations we have, the colours, the vibrancy, the flavour and the pizzazz. I also love our energy in everything that we bring and offer and the togetherness of different cultural celebrations.
I am proud to wear our South Asian clothing because it represents where I’ve come from. It symbolises my proud history and my parents. I also enjoy the fact that South Asian clothing can be designed and worn in hundreds of different ways. So many different colours can be brought together, displayed and brought to life. There is always something for everyone, where they can express their personality individually. South Asian clothing gives you the freedom to style in any way you wish. This is why I’m proud to be South Asian and enjoy wearing our clothes because of the energy it gives out without words having to be spoken.
My father is from Azad, Kashmir and my mother is from Nigeria. Growing up, I was always confused about who I was and what side of my family I was more like. As an adult, I realise both cultures together made me who I am. Being South Asian for me gave me a huge family, great food and a whole lot of substance and for that I am so thankful. I'm loud and proud of my mix and wouldn't ask for it any other way.
Having experienced childhood in a western culture, I've discovered that your character can be much of a stretch as it can be lost and overlooked. Being a South Asian young lady living in the UK can be very demanding. However, having such delightful garments on display helps me to remember our way of life is astounding. It is something bigger than just a piece of clothing. It is me. It is a delineation of my Bangladeshi legacy and it's a method to outwardly communicate and value my unique culture. Being South Asian is something to be consistently pleased with, the garments are a drop of our blood and a piece of our heritage that will be passed down throughout centuries.
Living in England we lack a connection with our South Asian roots. As a British Bangladeshi I feel closest to my culture when i’m wearing our traditional clothes. Representing our culture and heritage is so important as our ancestors fought for us to be able to speak our mother tongue. There’s so much beauty, colour and richness within our culture from the food we eat to the clothes we wear, the language we speak, the landscapes we see when we visit that we should be proud of. Joy Bangla forever and always.
Being brought up in the UK as a British South Asian has always been hard due to facing many racist remarks as well as being discriminated against for my religion, race and ethnicity. Growing up, I learnt to embrace myself as a British Bengali-Indian by wearing asian clothing to asian events and weddings but also partaking in dance shows and performances since a young age. This gave me the confidence to never be ashamed of the country I come from, who I am and what my identity is. I hope everyone can embrace their South Asian cultures and be proud!!
I love Pakistani culture. When I was younger I wasn’t quite familiar with the fashion in Pakistani culture but as I’ve gotten older I love wearing Asian attire. I love styling my Eid outfits and putting them together. I’m super proud to be South Asian and be a part of such an amazing culture.
How can you not love these incredibly saturated and vibrant clothes that brings a sense of energy to whoever wears it? Whenever I wear them, all the memories come back to me, from the crowded streets of a Bazaar to the beautiful valleys in Azaad Kashmir. It gives me a sense of belonging, a place I can return to with a handful of nostalgia. Memories of sweet celebrations and childhood days. A part that I treasure and find comfort in. Often I see people around me feeling ashamed to wear their traditional clothes and the stigma deeply saddens me. I believe that we should embrace our culture and use it as a tool that tells us apart from others.
Being a south Asian is a blessing as I’m exposed to various languages, communities, faiths and beliefs.
Even, in the two pictures below you can see me wearing two different costumes from south Asia (one a lehenga, other a Saree) which define me in different ways. Yet, the power, compassion and confidence remain the same. That’s the power of South Asia. A community that thrives unity and understanding.
Being South Asian means to me to be conscious and deeply aware of my culture. I recognise and appreciate the beauty and the entirety of being South Asian. Specifically in our current society, there is so much positive change and awareness on so many topics both taboo and acceptable in the South Asian community and I have never been more proud to represent us. The image I’m submitting is of my graduation in 2019 and I always look at it and feel immensely proud to have worn my South Asian clothes on such an important day of my life!
I was born and raised in Pakistan as one of 6 girls.
I love wearing my traditional clothes as I feel like they are my identity. I'm proud of my heritage and culture. They make me feel more confident and attached to my roots.
As a Bengali girl who grew up being the only brown girl in school, it took me years to embrace my culture. Now, I couldn’t be more proud.
We wear the most beautiful outfits, my favourite has to be the Saree - it makes me feel so elegant yet empowered. I wore one for the first time at age 18, and felt like a “woman” for the first time.
Secondly, we’re so lucky to have the most delicious varieties of our home-made food. From all the traditional spicy curries to the street style snacks (my favourite being Pani Puri), restaurants couldn’t even try to come close to anything our mums could make. We also have the most extravagant weddings, where our brides are made to feel like princesses in their embellished sarees, wearing the most intricate mehendi designs matched with luxurious gold jewellery. Being South Asian is beautiful, and I can’t wait to continue celebrating my culture.
Coming from a South Asian background specifically Pakistan, it makes me proud to share my comfort level with Asian dresses. To adorn my self with the most exquisite traditional Pakistani dresses. From Shalwar Kameez, Kurtas, Dupattas to Anrakalis and many more. I also love seeing other cultures’ dresses because of the embroidery, style and colours. That’s what makes it more attractive as this is what it is known for and stands for. I hope I will continue the way generations have cared for South Asian clothes and make them proud as I am today.
As a British Pakistani I feel closest to my culture when I’m wearing traditional clothes. Representing our culture and heritage is incredibly important to not only maintain the South Asian link but, to inspire future generations. It is important to celebrate your culture while you are living in a multicultural society. Whenever I wear traditional clothes it makes my mother happy and I feel blessed and proud to be part of my South Asian culture and heritage
I was born in Bangladesh and I immigrated at the age of 7. I became a British citizen while trying to fit into the ‘western’ culture but as I grew older, I realised that trying to fit into the western culture made me lose touch of how I was and where I was from. Being born in Bangladesh and having both my parents born and raised in Bangladesh gave me the opportunity to fall in love with the culture, the heritage, clothing, almost every little thing. Going to Bangladesh every two years made me fall in love with the beauty of Bangladesh, that it is known for its serenity and simplicity. The hospitality in a Bangladeshi household is forever unmatched. Being South Asian allowed me to become who I am today. Being proud of my ancestors, how I represent myself, learning the traditional culture and the outfits. I take pride in representing myself as a Bengali.
Growing up, I feel like I proudly express my South Asian identity when I indulge in our delicious and spicy cuisine, dance with laughter to our unique music and surround myself with my cousins, uncles and aunties whilst we celebrate our glorious festivals. But when I put on my traditional garments, it makes me feel like another type of empowered and confident. It represents my beautiful culture and I feel proud. ❤️
Ever since I was little, I’ve always been overly excited when it came to dressing up in South Asian clothing. When it came to Eid, weddings and mehndis, I was always the first to get ready or try my dress on multiple times beforehand. It really was exciting. The simple fact that there was so much variety in what you can wear, from sarees to lenghas, short or long dresses, different materials, really to me, makes South Asian clothing one of the best as there is just so much choice! Every dress is made uniquely and intricately, and the effort put into making one of these is insane. Even simply wearing these clothes makes me proud to be South Asian!
To be South Asian; is to be different. It’s to be an ‘us’, it’s about the traditions, the heritage and stories
How we can all connect and bond over our roots, our cultures, and the clothes we wear or the foods we eat. Whether it be what goes down in the aunties group-chats or the topic of ‘log kya kenhgaye’ (translation: what will people say), we should embrace and share our meaning of South Asian’.
To me being South Indian is a source of pride. The lands are beautiful and the culture, food and climate are completely different to most people’s immediate conception of India. Therefore, I love educating myself and others on these variations! The rich and vibrant history is reflected in these beautiful clothes. Wearing this ‘half-saree’ makes me feel connected to my roots, by knowing my ancestors wore similar clothing, which is a rare connection to have when you grow up in a contrasting British culture. It can be hard to balance cultures but clothes are an easy yet significant way to bridge links.
S is for sari, the most beautiful yet traditional clothing a South Asian girl could wear.
O is for the outstanding beauty of the girls that wear their traditional clothes.
U is for Urdu, the language I speak to my tailor in.
T is for the topee, that my groom will be wearing on our baraat.
H is for handing the rest of this spicy South Asian poem to @aminah_ibi
A is for the anklet, that goes chan chan chan.
S is for the sharara that is too long and gets caught on my groom’s kusseh (shoes).
I is for istree-ing the pile of South Asian kapreas high as the Himalayan mountains.
A is for the 24K angootee (ring) that my groom will gift me on my baraat day.
N is for how nothing beats our South Asian fashion.