In Episode 5, I speak to Meera about how she was inspired by her mum's wedding outfit and paired her mum's bridal set with some costume jewellery to complete her bridal look for her big day 2 years ago. We also speak about her family's migrant journey from Gujarat, East Africa and then to the UK. The fond memories they have living in East Africa, how they've effortlessly weaved Swahili words in to Gujarati and the ripple effect Idi Amin kicking out the Asians from Uganda in 1972 had across Kenya and Tanzania.
Meera, is also the the founder and online fashion store, The Thin Line, that stocks conscious fashion brands from India that support the heritage crafts and livelihoods of local artisans (known as karigars). We speak about she was so aware of her Indian roots growing up and was inspired by seeing the handicrafts her mother had in her wardrobe:
"I've always been interested in Indian heritage I've been born and brought up in the UK, but I feel like I'm way more connected to India than I am here to the UK. And I think that's only because my mum has kept that heritage alive, as she's kept all her weddings, saris, which is amazing in a really pristine condition. And I think seeing that and growing up around that led me to then take the route of going into fashion. Just because you're surrounded by colour, you're surrounded by texture all the time. And it kind of inspired my path to just I was just always into fashion, I was always in awe of handcrafts of India and like the embroideries and you know, the different types textiles."
We also talk about the sustainable roots of textile production in India and keeping the craftsmanship in traditional jewellery practices alive:
"The sustainable practices. I mean, I'm not sure about the gold within jewellery, but I know for sure. Within textiles, the sustainability is really important. And then I guess with jewellery, it's more ethics. It's about keeping the craft of those jewellery designs and those craftsmen around India going, especially the intricacies of their work that they do in the gold."
We then talk about how she fashioned her own wedding outfit inspired by what her mum wore;
"I wanted to be traditional and myself and I didn't have any embroidery on my entire outfit. And which was why the jewellery I guess played even more of an important role because that was the only thing that would bring everything together and you know, make me look like a bride. Traditionally, because everything usually is embroidered, and I think that's what I took away from my mom's wedding outfit; she didn't have any embroidered , it was purely silk. So I was like, wow, I'm really inspired by her style. And so I just went for a pure silk outfit. "
I asked Meera, how did she feel wearing the pieces as we also spoke to her mum about what the full set looked like when she first wore them during her wedding,
"They hold a special part in place in my heart because I decided once I seen them a long time ago that if I got if I got married, I definitely want to wear them and it just makes you feel like you've bought something from your mum into your wedding. And it just makes you feel like I you've got that connection and you've got something that's been handed down to you. Obviously now I guess we understand the value of gold. But we also understand we're never really going to be wearing a lot of these again, And I think if you if you're in the industry, we're not going to get pieces like this again, especially the level of detailing that's in this is incredible. "
Speaking to Meera about her wedding set, and how she brought her mum's jewellery and the sentiment it represented to her wedding look was really heartwarming as I also got to speak to her mum and Baa (grandmother) that day. In this episode I speak to 3 generations of family about various aspects of gold jewellery, how it's been handed down and how these pieces may stand the test of time.