South Asia | Fashion with a Conscience: Marrying Design with Human Rights

January 4, 2010 · Leave a Comment 

Model is wearing Zolaykha Sherzad's design from her fashion line, "Zarif," which means "precious" in Dari. Sherzad, an Afghani designer, created the line "Love" as a tribute to women who have survived violence and war in their lives. Photo by Vikram Pathak

On December 8, 2009, Engendered’s Fashion Conscience 09 unveiled collections merging design with human rights from three of South Asia’s most progressive and cause-driven designers: Manish Arora, named one of the top 10 designers at Paris Fashion Week 2009, Zolaykha Sherzad, called a “cultural ambassador to Afghanistan” by Time Magazine, and Asher Jay, a Parsons Design School fashionista.  Engendered is a trans-national arts and human rights organization focused on exploring the complex realities of gender and sexuality in the South Asian Diaspora. In tandem with their work and mission, the featured ‘POSITIVE,’ ‘ONE,’ and ‘LOVE’ fashion lines paid homage to people living with HIV and AIDS, gender non-conformists, and women who have survived violence and war. In addition to their merits as beautiful pieces of wearable art, the designs were also an empowering reminder of the ways in which art can be used and reinvented as tools of social change and transformation.

Oscar-nominated, South Asian director Mira Nair celebrates the success of Manish Arora's fashion line "Positive," created for Engendered. The line is an homage to those people living with HIV and AIDS, in an effort to dispel myths about the disease and highlight the importance of safe sex. Photo by Vikram Pathak

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