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 Project

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 become contributing members of society and live happy and safe lives. 

Driven by the customers of Secret Projects and Lucy Siegle, The Guardian's ethical living journalist, 1000 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. 

These Secret Sari Dresses were made from vintage saris purchased at some of India's second hand sari markets. Click here to see a video of one of these markets in Kolkata. The finished dresses arrived in London in April and were ready to be chosen by our customers on Saturday 20 May at 10.30am. An incredible team of volunteers helped around the clock in our London office to pick, pack and send the dresses as the choices came in. 

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.

Feedback from customers has been extremely positive and in September 2017 we launched another collection of Secret Sari Dresses made from vintage, new silk, cotton and synthetic saris. These dresses are now on sale.

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

If you have any further questions about the project or the product, please jump on Live Chat, bottom right of the home page, or email hello@secretprojects.org

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

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