Growing up with immigrant parents was an interesting phenomenon. They want you to adapt and learn everything “American” but also stay super close to your roots and not lose your parents’ ethnicity. It was hard to balance this as child, at times it still feels difficult. I still navigate through, what is important to hold on to from the culture, and certainly there are things I am more than happy to let go of.
One thing I truly love about Pakistani culture is the fashion. From traditional wear to more modernized ‘shalwar kameez’. It all is so beautiful, and more importantly it all has a story.
These hats have many names throughout Pakistan, Chitral, Pakol. Whatever you may call this soft rounded wool hat, let me tell you about these specific handmade ones made by Zindagi Apparel. These hats require a significant amount of time in hand craftsmanship from the shearing (removal of sheep hair) to the hand embroidery; all the way to the tag placement and stitching. All of the pieces are handmade in Chitral then sent to Lahore, Pakistan for the additional silk lining and embroidery. For that personal touch. The quality of the hat is great, made with the finest natural stretch wool – that isn’t itchy at all. Not only is it fashion, but it tells a story and allows people in Pakistan to make a living.
Zindagi Apparel is a profound movement that stands at the threshold of the culture of the East. Layered. Nuanced. Like threads that are woven together, our past is complex and our lives are intricately joined together. This is Zindagi, which translates to “life” in Urdu. This statement-wear honors Pakistani culture with love, compassion, and positivity using pattern and texture. Each one of their pieces are handcrafted with extreme attention to detail. They seek to embrace Pakistani culture and offer monetary support to Pakistani artisans by providing them with a livable wage so that they can work in professions that will ensure our heritage lives on.
Style is important to me. What you wear speaks volumes about you, its your first impression. It tells YOUR story. It is hard to define my style, it has changed many times over the years but I am a much more of a conscious consumer now. I steer clear of ‘fast fashion’ and really believe in investing in items that are worth it, that mean something. My culture holds a special place in my heart. Whether I add some Pakistani jewelry or embroidered scarves to my work outfits, I somehow manage to always add that ‘desi’ touch, that’s me, that is my zindagi.
My favorite piece is the “Bol, Magar Pyar Se” hat, which translates to: Speak, but only with love. So profound, yet so simple. It is definitely how I envision living my life and I love that it has that personal touch, on the inside – like a little reminder to yourself – to always remain kind. I am wearing the color Raeth (sand) which matches with everything, my desi clothes and I cannot wait to style it with a casual laid back look in American clothes. Love how versatile it is, but what I love the most, that it reminds me of my father on chilly Eid mornings as a kid.
What story are you telling? What statement are you making?
Check out their website and follow Zindagi Apparel on Instagram.