Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed


By Shamime Shaw

Finding my Grandmothers handmade raw silk Sari Dress ignited the fire for my love of Indian Fashion. My adoptive grandmother was not Indian and when she made her dress, she had no idea she would be the adoptive grandmother to an Indian decent granddaughter.

This fate-like “happening” with my grandmothers dress started my search for only vintage and unique pieces of Indian Fashion clothing...

My reasoning: Why buy an outfit that everyone in India is buying, but in different colors because it is the latest trend? Why not find something vintage? On my trips to the Bay Area where Vintage Indian fashion is more concentrated than in Southern California, I would search for the perfect Salwar Kameez and tunics to pair with leggings, skinny jeans or to take in and make a mini dress with a zipper.

When I wear my outfits, I am stopped on the street, at airports and events by people asking “Where did you find that? Who is it by?” When I tell them I found it vintage and it is Indian, their eyes grow wide and they say, “Where can I find a place that has unique pieces like this?”

I point them to Sahara Indian Boutique, if they are in Southern California and any vintage store in the San Francisco Bay area has a section dedicated to Indian styles.

SAHARA Indian Boutique in Artesia California is unique. All the proceeds go to their non profit organization called SAHARA to help women  who are victim of domestic violence. Why would anyone want to shop anyplace else? Shop at a place where  we know our money is helping better the lives of women.

Sahara Indian Boutique is no less than Crossroads Trading Co., Buffalo Exchange and the many other “Buy Sale Trade” stores (that are a staple of youth shopping). Sahara Indian Boutique’s only difference is they do not buy clothing. Although, it would be nice if Sahara were open to the clothing “trading” culture, as I think it would allow for more community involvement.

BUT what about the people that say, “Ewwww, Indians and South Asians don’t wear other people’s clothing or clothing that has been worn by someone else...That is just not something we do...Like, WHY? It is a shame and an embarrassment.”


To that I answer:

I would hope buying clothing could become more of an art and selfless act (made possible by vintage places like SAHARA) 

If you shop at any other vintage places, the concept is the same...And many department stores re-shelf returns, so you may never know if that dress already had a night on the town....

If you don’t at least TRY Indian Vintage Fashion, why not step away for a second and explore vintage opportunities.

Lastly, IF it really bothers you to let your friends and family know you bought a vintage Sari or outfit, don’t tell them and quietly enjoy the complements on your unique vintage fashion find 

Sahara’s Sari’s offer more than just wearing them. Decorate your wall at home, make a duvet, make an entirely new dress with amazing materials and saturated colors...and we can’t forget about MEN’S fashion  at Sahara as well ....and the JWELRY that is BRAND NEW.

Sahara means “support” in Hindi. Shopping at Sahara Indian Boutique is a win win situation for the selfless soul and good Karma.


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