Urban Desi

Sisters Create Clothing Line Honoring South Asian Heritage

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Two sisters from Howard County, Maryland, who wanted to wear clothes that honored their South Asian roots couldn’t find much so they made their own. Now they have a booming business.

“I believe clothing is a form of expression,” Urban Desi founder Mina Khan said. “I love dressing up; I love fashion … You can show off your culture and your ethnic roots through fashion.”

She and her sister Warda started their own clothing line, Urban Desi, paying tribute to their South Asian heritage. They especially wanted to honor their grandfather, who left money to build a well in Bangladesh after he died.

“I just kind of would want people to see, oh, all this stuff originated in South Asia,” Mina Khan said.

“I want to share my culture with everyone in the western world,” she said.

A sophomore at the University of Maryland, Mina started off making all the clothes herself and shipping them at the local post office.

“We put a lot of effort into making pieces that we want to wear, that we enjoy,” Warda said.

“When I started the brand, it was just completely new to me, everything” Mina said. “Like, business was new to me.”

They’ve come a long way in the past year, selling about 1,000 items so far.

They soon plan to offer skincare and makeup products and hope to have a pop-up shop in the future.

“I’m very proud, especially because of the hard work that is going into it,” Mina said.

“I feel like we are creating a very strong community,” Warda said.

Mina also plans to create a podcast about South Asian culture called Urban Desi Unfolded.

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