My Shalwar Kameez

In Attire
Relationship: Child of im/migrant
Shalwar Kameez
Shalwar Kameez

My Shalwar Kameez

By Lekha Condon-Daphtary 

My Object is a Shalwar Kameez, which is a South Asian style dress. It is a dress that is commonly worn by women and girls in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka. Kameez’ are simple tunic-like dresses that are usually worn with tight fitting pants called Shalwar. Kameez have either short or long sleeves and are most of the time knee length. They are usually one color with lots of design around the collarbone area and hem, including embroidery and beading. Mine is navy blue with pink, red, and gold roses embroidered on to the front.
While Researching Shalwar Kameez I learned that women wear them because they are comfortable and light-weight, which is helpful in the hot climate of South Asia. It’s also a sign of wealth depending on the fabric, beads, etc.
I chose this dress because it symbolizes the one hundred year anniversary of my family’s emigration from India to Kenya. It’s important to me because it reminds me of my trip to Kenya and my family’s rich immigration history. I would love to learn more about my family and culture.
A question I have is: “What do the designs on a wealthy person’s Kameez versus a middle class or poor person’s". 
In conclusion, the reason I chose this object is because I wanted to teach others about this dress, why it’s important to me and what it means to my family.


Place(s): India
Year: 1950

– Lekha

Relationship:  Child of im/migrant Child of im/migrant