Embellished Bridal Outfit (Material Memory)

Year: 1992

Origin: Chakswari, Pakistan

Donated By: Zara Saghir

Zara’s mother, Ghazala Khatoon, was born in Whalley, UK, after her father moved there to work in Lancashire cotton mills. Despite knowing she would have an arranged marriage from a young age, Ghazala remained independent and worked at Rists Wires in Accrington, even becoming the first British Pakistani female in her community to learn how to drive.

When it was time for her to marry, she had a few suitors, but none were a good match until she received a video tape from Pakistan of the man who would later become her husband and Zara’s dad. Ghazala has said that she had a good feeling when she saw that video and knew he was the one she was meant to marry.

Zara’s father, Saghir Hussain, hailed from a small village in Azad Kashmir called Domal. Ghazala travelled there to marry him, wearing a beautifully embellished pink wedding dress made in the Pakistani town of Chakswari. This dress, unlike the traditional red bridal attire, caused quite a sensation in the village, attracting even uninvited guests.

Ghazala has cherished this dress for 31 years, remembering that she felt like a movie star on her wedding day.

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