As the marriage season has buzzed-in, fashion shows usually mint money on the latest bridal trends. But HUM bridal couture week in Pakistan was a slightly different affair.
Taking the stage as an opportunity to protest against child marriages, designer Ali Xeeshan did something incredible during the finale event.
Choosing a young teenage girl as his showstopper, who wore a ‘Bridal Uniform’, wearing a school uniform complemented by bridal jewellery and a school bag, Ali Xeeshan sent a strong message for his motto “fashion for cause”.
The girl’s maang tikka, nose ring, and heena-stained hands spoke volumes on the issue of the child marriages. The girl also wore white ribbons in her hair and a garland-adorned bag full of books carrying a tag that read “power”. The message was clear – to urge people to take child education seriously.
The event was collaborated with UN Women Pakistan. The UN agency tweeted, “The girl on the ramp appeared wearing a school uniform embellished with bridal motifs; symbolizing the unfortunate trade-off when a child is deprived of her right to an education and is instead married.”
The UNWP has also started a powerful campaign with hashtag #BridalUniform asking people to sign a petition that “could turn this conversation into a topic of discussion in the Parliament.”
The problem of child marriages, however, is not limited to Pakistan. It is still prevalent in many parts of India as well, where girls are married off at an early age. Through this campaign, UN Women is trying to bring the focus on life-long implications of child marriages and how to take preventive measures to curb it.
According to UN Women, over 20 percent of Pakistani women get married before they turn 18 and 3 percent overall get married off before the age of 15.
All proceeds from the campaign will directly go Kashf Foundation, an NGO that works toward fighting child marriages and rescuing its victims. A portion of the donations from Ali Xeeshan’s collection was also donated to Pirbhat Women’s Development Society and Sujag Sansar – two organizations working to end violence against women and early child marriages in Pakistan.