Shalwar kameez

In Attire
Relationship: Child of im/migrant
My family wearing shalwar kameez on Eid
My family wearing shalwar kameez on Eid

Numerous items reflect my family’s cultural identity, yet, my cherished possession is the shalwar kameez. Shalwar kameez is traditional clothing worn during special holidays and occasions, such as family gatherings, weddings, and festive celebrations. The outfit is comprised of the shalwar, a loose-fitting trouser that closely resembles the style of harem pants; and the kameez, a long shirt or tunic with slits around the forearm. This attire has seamlessly transcended generations within my family, deeply sewn into the fabric of our ancestral heritage hailing from Pakistan.In the late 90s, when my parents immigrated to the United States, the shalwar kameez played a crucial role in their migration narrative as it was the only clothes they brought. They lacked the money to purchase typical “American” clothes such as jeans and t-shirts, and had to wear what they had. Although they stood out, they took pride in their culture and didn’t shy away from wearing their shalwar kameez in public. It was a statement of pride, an emblem of their identity, and a tribute to their origins. Even to this day, they continue to go out in shalwar kameez to pay homage to their initial days in this new land and as a perpetual connection to their roots. Their struggle to acclimate to a new lifestyle was eased by these familiar garments, providing strength and comfort amidst the challenges of adaptation.I continue to uphold this tradition by adorning my shalwar kameez whenever the opportunity arises, proudly exhibiting my heritage and cultural legacy.

Place(s): Pakistan: Lahore / United Sates: New York, Las Vegas
Year: 1998

– Raiyan Shafique

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