NOW SEEN IN PRINT Must Be Kismet Magazine 2018 Photography - Divine Method Photo
'As an art director and stylist in Toronto, transitioning moods is more than just contrasting colours and cultures..' - Sarah Hussain.
Inspired by the love for culture, I had the pleasure of working with a team of industry professionals to create a love for narrative through travel and textile. Through pattern and texture; embroidery and prints, this editorial embraces a woman with dignity and elegance. Featuring Chandan Fashion, a Toronto brand that not only has an updated taste for Indian Bridal fashion but a youthful, inviting atmosphere.
This editorial is one that was inspired by the emotions woven into the garments for South Asian women. Particularly into their armoire of sensitivity during their ruksati (the third stage of a Bride).
Growing up in a household filled with the scent of cardamom, fried onions and mixed spices wasn't always comforting when walking out of your home. I never noticed the scent of my mother's cooking until I was fond of the dishes. Being raised in Ontario in the 80s, I found myself wearing patterns that coloured my world, similar to the medley of ingredients seen in a festering pot of bhiryani. As I grew older, my wardrobe aged with reason to style and I didn't simply purchase items because I wanted to; trends did not exist. My wardrobe began to weigh with responsibility and I no longer idealized a world of freedom of expression. My culture expressed my faith and style, which endlessly curated my family's respect towards me. My selections of lawn prints and saree fittings granted others a more than intimate gaze into my world because I was entirely confident.
NOW Radiating into my 30s
StageTWO, w i s d o m
As I revolve around the sun for another chapter, I carry my weight with these words:
a letter to myself.. 'Today the colours turn a tone closer to being a shade. My vows to the great accomplishments in life, have shortened their distance in time. My culture-clock has brought waves of challenges that I can no longer use education as an excuse for an extension. I now belong to the 30 and above class on the surveys and grants are available to me for my best words and no longer my age. Listening to my voice is like listening to a broken cassette filled with Hope that an opportunity to be 20 again will arise. Marriage is now a phase I want to pass so I can officially live my life without boundaries. Trust is an exemplary token of appreciation I hold dearly.
Turning 30 today just got me in a hurry. Living life through my creations has justified that age really is like fine cheddar. The best portion of your life is not determined by your age but by your accomplishments.
StageTHREE, p o s t u r e
Through this editorial, the images take a glance at each stage that a Bride is faced with. Challenges that may not seem challenging to the discourse that they are placed in. In societies of our own, immigrant families are given the authority to certify their daughters as quality goods for others homes. Why else are we groomed so hastily after ripening into the purest fruit?
Being bare-footed has never felt more liberating. Letting go of cultural reforms and breathing to my own rhythm has allowed me to travel through the doors of many homes. Having acknowledged that every daughter must be married and every woman must be given away, I conformed to marrying later than earlier. Similarly, I have accepted the act of marriage but willingly and to my own measures. I do not believe in the practice of perfecting a young woman as her youth allows her to mould her world into the one she wishes to have. Growth is a key element that refines the sanctity of marriage and with great conversation comes great friendship. We need to come together as a unit, an undying structure that guides our future with the culture that was implemented in our youth. Fortunately, my posture was never ideal and my mother was my backbone through my abnormalities. If we have more conversations about the yearning for sophistication in our daughters, parents will never have to see their daughters as furnishings in rooms filled with regretful family patterns.
StageFOUR, Reflect- ION
Culture does not have a geographic location, it is a mind set and a practice of values that are of most importance to one's life. A spirited individual will share their stories with you because they believe life is full of blossoming possibilities whereas someone who has been surrounded by the preachings of others may silently confront similar feelings. Stage four is for reflection on your accomplishments and prosperity. What have you done that will diversify your relationship with your significant other; your family and your foot print? We speak of changing the system that we are a part of, a social experiment that exists now more than ever due to social media and our relationships with trends and reports. I have had such a difficult time rephrasing my story to better connect with the audience that I wish to voice my concerns to. My views become redundant and my readers become engulfed in a world that quickly confuses or leaves them asking for more. Which is why I come to this point, why does it matter if the post is complete? My reflection on the idea of marriage may not be yours but I do believe that the standards expected in our demographic is far too brutal for the young women of today. We bury far too much into the first born crevices of our dimples, weighing our smiles with expectations and patterns long gone from our wardrobe. This confrontation is for you to see that there was no set of five stages for a Bride; have no expectations when it comes to marriage or leaving home. Guide yourself with your bare feet and walk the steps of a strong woman; your mother. The poem below will free your spirit and guide you to a better understanding of yourself. Follow no trend.
As every passing moment goes by, I allow another string on my heart to play a melody. A tune I connect with the earth that rattled my mother's doors as I entered her womb. The soil on the soles of my feet are from the warmer climates of the East where turmeric and sandalwood create a fine base for wisdom and social standards. My roots still watered from the weight of hair in oils scented with hibiscus and mustard seeds.
My spine overlooking the sea towards the West. With eyes as sharp as the eagle's flight. My age is marked with entitlements to knowing the finest silks and hand cut glass. Carvings of sand and wood cut creases in between the cushion of my toes as I traveled into the storms of the unknown.
Inferior to this land, I am a woman with an adventure pierced into my back. The adornments I wear are now my reflections and experiences. I forever travel light with trunks filled with certainty and liberation.
These are words from me to you to guide you in the awareness of yourself. The journey that must take place by stepping out your front door. The gaze through your windows will only take you so far, so if this written aids you in your adventure than please write it on your heart. Liberation is a part of who we are; humanity. We live to seek for the love of ourselves in others and when patience grows weak, we succumb to the voice of our surroundings. Be aware of your spirit and acknowledge its worth for she will live infinitely when she hears your voice.
All I ever wished to do was wait till I had that one opportunity to know you; the moment where everything would change because I to become a part of your existence. You lifted my head because you were certain about my capabilities of making the world a better place; my smile. Providing me with dear companionship in situations where I was uncomfortable, where life was misinterpreted you were there to confide in. I had encouraged myself to do as I pleased when it came to my growth with a career because you told me, I was my satisfaction.
Then, it happened…I was to be married. The life that you had shown me was suddenly nonexistent; as if the moon had been unstitched from the very night of hope. Awakening that morning surrounded by a floral breeze and white porcelain teacups, I could see myself admitting to the cultural hesitation that I once was so good at avoiding.
Being a middle-class family member, I encouraged my personality to shine in Ammi’s reception lehenga (bridal skirt and top) because I knew I wanted to keep her close. The words myself, I, me and being suddenly all reflected a woman I had never thought envisioning. Everyone around me was here to criticize, a glimpse of struggle or discomfort, a constant inquire about why I chose to marry this late. All I can think of is my happiness, underlined with threads of resham with Ammi's smile. Thank you Ammi for letting me love myself first.
Notes from Artist: Having a woman, outside of the south asian norm to portray a Bride is never a difficult task. As a Bride, one is always seen being placed into a cultural assumption of following trends, setting trends and creating a personalized wedding. Honestly speaking, there is nothing personalized because family is our birth right. The series of photos with Breath of Henna are created to indulge in the relationship of being the Bride.
VIEW THE STYLED SHOOT FEATURE HERE : http://www.indianweddingsite.com/indian-wedding-styled-photo-shoot-lima-photography/
Her smile, ‘go balle balle’ dance moves are her best moments captured by Photographer Salima Esmail from LIMA ES Photography. The sun kisses Mariam’s skin as she glows and the Henna remains in the contrast to her vivid personality.
In conclusion of this series, one will learn to love themselves and appreciate the details that stay as the stain of the Henna. Rav B beauty concepts created a natural look for Mariam, and Kaashni Brar’s hair couture created a whimsical 80’s blow out. The Bridal Lehenga is of my Ammi’s from her wedding reception in 1987, which still feels vivid to the touch. Styling Mariam in the lehenga provides a playful perspective on the arranged marriage and our parents' traditions,
Stylist, Writer, Executive Producer, Artistic Director, Henna - Breath of Henna Photographer - Lima ES Photography