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Munawar wins top prize in British Sari Story for Bridal Sari

Oct '08
Munawar Ahmed, 32, of Greenwich, London, has won the top prize in the British Sari Story competition 2008 for a British Bridal Sari.

Munawar, who has been married for nearly 13 years herself, designed a cream silk sari scattered with sparkle and symbols.

“My sari portrays the basic hopes and experiences of a British Asian bride,” said Munawar. “The design symbolises all aspects of a bride's life, her role as a wife, a mother and a homemaker. I chose an off white/cream silk fabric to represent the west. I entered the competition last year and wanted to be involved again this year. I also wanted to make my parents proud of me as I love them very much and they are the ones who brought out my creativity.”

The sequinned motifs and symbols on the sari, each have a meaning, from an eye representing hope to the forget-me-not (remembrance) and a key (peace). The competition has been given extra sparkle as top retailer RCKC , which specialises in Asian, Indian and ethnic haute couture, has offered to make up the top three winning saris to go on display when the exhibition opens in Falmouth, Cornwall, next year.

“It's very fitting for the occasion,” said the Lord Mayor of Leicester Manjula Sood, the first British Asian woman Lord Mayor, who judged the competition with Baroness Flather, the first British Asian woman in the House of Lords, and haut couturier Roy Allen. “A bridal sari is very special. It's a magic moment in your life and every bride wants to look stunning.

“The concept here is a design that keeps western and eastern together – in particular by using the symbols like the key. This would appeal to any young bride to be.”

Second in the contest was Aarifah Chowdhury (Brick Lane, London). Dhamina Mistry of Loughborough came third and runner up was Emma Partridge, also of Loughborough. The prize was announced at the launch of the British Sari Story exhibition at Charnwood Museum, Loughborough.

Funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and touring with Arts Council England funding, the British Sari Story presents traditional saris from around south Asia alongside new saris printed with 21st century patterns by the University of East London – the top ten entries in a national competition held last year for British Asian patterns. Drawings by Helen Scalway of fabric patterns and life inside a sari shop in Tooting, south London, will also be on display at the exhibition.

British Bridal Sari

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