What is a Secret Sari Dress?

A Secret Sari Dress is a clever wrap-around beach dress, made from a sari, which folds into a small and neat pocket. 

The Story of the Secret Sari Dress 

In 2016 Secret Projects partnered with an international NGO with a grassroots focus that successfully supports young women who are survivors of human trafficking. These women are rescued from a life of sexual slavery in brothels, in some cases thousands of miles away from home. After rescue the young women live in a protected environment whilst the case against their perpetrators come to court. Their witness testimonies are vital to the conviction of traffickers and the young women are kept in government safe houses until they have given evidence in court, after which a safe passage home is arranged for them. The vision of the international NGO is for these women to reintegrate into society and live happy and safe lives. 

The key to the Secret Sari Dress is PREVENTION. By producing Secret Sari Dresses women and girls gain access to an income generating activity in an area where there are little or no such opportunities and are thereby prevented from being trafficked or re-trafficked.

Driven by the customers of Secret Projects and Lucy Siegle, The Guardian's ethical living journalist, 1,000 dresses were pre-ordered through a successful crowdfunding campaign and through our website. These orders enabled us to hold training sessions in six safe houses located in six Indian cities including Kolkata, Bangalore and Mumbai. 70 young women were trained in each of the safe homes and they all received a minimum of ten orders. The money they received from the dresses was equivalent to a month's wage. Leaving the safe house with money in their pockets, as well a new skill of sewing, is a wonderful reality for the young women and helps to safeguard their future. 

Along with the dress, we sent a blank postcard and asked our customers to write down where they will wear their dresses and return the postcards to us. The postcards were taken to one of the safe houses in June so that the makers could see where in the world their dresses were sent. They were thrilled to see how far across the globe their products reached and they felt a huge sense of pride and personal satisfaction. They felt empowered. Click here to watch a video about the postcard concept. 

In 2018, our founder Fritha Vincent was awarded the prestigious Prix Clarins Stylist Award in recognition of her mission to prevent vulnerable young women in West Bengal from being trafficked. With this prize money, Secret Projects has been able to incorporate a new sewing unit in West Bengal focusing specifically on the production of Secret Sari Dresses. 

Price of the product broken down for transparency:

  • 200 rupees (approximately £3 - FX dependant) goes to the producer
  • Surplus covers shipping, duty and VAT and will contribute to running the costs of Secret Projects UK (core functions: marketing, finance, logistics)
  • Picking and postage to customer

Thanks to the support of law firm Hogan Lovells, we are proud to be able to say that as of May 2018, our Secret Sari Dress is a registered trademark.

For a further information about the Secret Sari Dress, such as sizing and care instructions, click here.

If you have any further questions about the project or the product, please email hello@secretprojects.org 

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