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I don’t force people to buy my lehengas: Ali Xeeshan

His new collection is against dowry

SAMAA | - Posted: Feb 11, 2021 | Last Updated: 3 weeks ago
Posted: Feb 11, 2021 | Last Updated: 3 weeks ago

Designer Ali Xeeshan said he doesn’t hold people at gunpoint and force them to buy his Rs1.2 million bridal lehenga.

“I practice what I preach,” Ali told SAMAA TV’s show Naya Din Thursday. “I got married last year, but there was no exchange between our families whatsoever.”

Ali came under fire this week for his anti-dowry campaign Numaish at the Bridal Couture Week 2021. The project was developed in collaboration with UN Women Pakistan. Ali walked down the ramp with his wife Myrah, who is expecting their first child, to close the show.

Photo: Instagram/Myrah Ali Xeeshan

Although he has highlighted a number of social issues through his craft in the past, especially child marriages, none of them divided social media like Numaish. Many people remarked that lessons on dowry culture were rich coming from a designer whose own bridal creations cost millions of rupees.

He responded to the criticism by saying his designs cost more because of their quality. “I have been working hard for so many years. I don’t force people to buy my clothes,but dowry is imposed,” he argued.

According to Ali, his campaign was just a reminder that dowry culture existed. He believes people who have issues with Numaish are very few, because the message it delivers is “beyond their thinking”.

“I received a message from a woman yesterday, who told me she had stopped collecting dowry for her daughter,” said Ali. “She will now spend that money on her daughter’s Master’s.”

He has seen parents come under

enormous pressure trying to fulfill demands from the groom’s side, which also affect the bride’s mental health. When asked about women who wish to wear his lehengas on their weddings because “their cousins wore him too”, Ali said well-raised women never ask such of their parents. “If you raise your daughters well, they will know what they should and shouldn’t ask for.”

It is his observation that young women who are busy with their careers start thinking beyond dowry because of financial freedom.

Numaish received praise on Twitter for raising an important issue with deep roots in the society.

UN Women tweeted that Numaish is a "pledge against dowry".

Several other users shared photos from the campaign with the hashtag #saynotodowry.

But some users remarked Xeeshan's take on dowry culture is ironic since his own bridal outfits cost millions of rupees.

Numaish features the tagline Qubool nahin [not acceptable].

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