Salwar Kameez

In Attire
Relationship: Im/migrant
A traditional Bangladeshi suit.
A traditional Bangladeshi suit.

This particular type of clothing is called a "salwar kameez" and was worn by my mother when she first stepped into America with me in 2003. A salwar kameez is a three piece suit that consists of trousers (salwar), long shirt (kameez), and scarf (dupatta). It is the primary form of clothing for women in Bangladesh. My father had purchased this dress from a local clothing shop in Dhaka back in 1995 before his departure to New York. This shop was owned by my great-grandmother who had supported her family after the Liberation War by  traveling throughout the country and gathering materials in order to fabricate clothing. The rich colors and embellishment on this attire represents the hard work that the people of Bangladesh were willing to do . After being involved in a gruesome war, the country was at its lowest due to a paucity of economic opportunities. Nonetheless, the citizens were compelled to keep their culture alive through clothing, food, and sports. My mother’s suit is an embodiment of a country that refused to eradicate their heritage. Growing up, my mother would not let me wear ethnic clothing because she feared that it would result in my peers perceiving me to be less modern. Thus, I spent the majority of my life being blind to the culture of my mother's home land. It was not until my trip 16 years after coming to the United States that I actually got to bond with the people and learn about their customs. My experience during my visit to Bangladesh has allowed me to accept and understand both the Bangladeshi and American side of my identity. 

Place(s): Bangladesh
Year: 2003

– Afsana Asha

Relationship:  Im/migrant Im/migrant