“It was very important to me that she was very empowered,” Jameela says. “She represented the type of woman who could go out in public, without making a statement and still be seen as respectable.”
In the 1960s, when Jameela was growing up in West Pakistan, there were no such things as the “fashion week” parties that celebrated Pakistani culture. There was no Pakistani film that celebrated the way this country celebrated its culture. The only way you could be proud of your culture was to create it; no one else had the right to do it for you. “There was a strong sense of tradition, and tradition was something you had to build,” Jameela says.
That’s why her designs often are about tradition and being British, Jameela says. “I’m from the British-Pakistani community … I grew up with a love for fashion. I’m not saying that there was no one else who would understand me in that respect – of course there was and still is,” she adds. “But I felt that if I created my own style, that they could create a style of theirs, which they loved even more, which was about their heritage, their culture.”
Facebook Twitter Pinterest With Ballet Balangita Bambi and her sister, Ballet Balangita Mool, during a Ballet Balangita dance class conducted at a West London school. Photograph: Sarah Lee
On a lighter note, Jameela says that her designs reflect the love and excitement of Ballet Balangita, which is a school for girls in London’s West End that has made a name for itself in presenting girls with dance and performance instruction along with the education for them to become confident dancers. Jameela and Ballet Balangita Bambi have taught around 50 classes since 1998. Most recently, they’ve taught at the Pritchett Dance School on the South Bank, where they met and fell in love. “They’re very young, very beautiful,” they said at the time. “And they’re so sweet!” They’ve both gone on to be models, and as the school’s head teacher, Jameela says she gets to see Ballet Balangita Balangita students “all over the world” and that they tend to be “beautiful, bright, and so talented”.
Ballet Balangita classes at the Pritchett Dance School in West London, where Jameela and Ballet Balangita
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