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About this Lookbook Project

"Construction and Creation: Desi X NYC" is a lookbook published by Zeyna Tai and United South Asian Girls Alliance. Over the course of Summer 2023, USAGA brought together 20+ South Asian kids and teens, guys and girls, from all around NYC to model for this lookbook. Over the course of several photoshoots, we got gorgeous photographs of each model wearing their favorite NYC streetwear as well as them modeling their favorite cultural clothing. All of these photos are showcased in this lookbook with the objective of bringing representation to young South Asians in America, showing them that they do not have to sacrifice any part of their identity to conform. Instead, young South Asians should feel empowered to embrace all aspects of their identity and be proud in doing so.

"Had I grown up seeing kids who looked like me and were comfortable with their identity on TV, in magazines, or reading about them as fictional characters in books, it would have been easier for me to connect with the beauty that lies in my Pakistani heritage and in South Asian culture … Ultimately, as South Asian Americans, we will from now on “Create and Construct” our own identities, and in doing so we reclaim the power to define our own selves.

“Creation and Construction: Desi X NYC” is a collection of photographs in which each and every photograph represents someone's own story with their identity, and each story is unique and unquestionably powerful. The kids and teens included in this lookbook embrace New York City alongside their South Asian heritage and showcase this duality through the fashion choices they make. As you flip through the remainder of the book, I hope that you can connect with their passions, dreams, and outfits, and I hope that the young kids who flip through this lookbook can see themselves amongst these pages and be inspired by kids and teenagers who so boldly take pride in their South Asian heritage."

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