Tanya Rawal, a professor at the University of California, first started using the now famous hashtag, to accompany photos of herself on instagram wearing sarees.
Upon arriving back in the United States from her holiday in India, laden with vintage sarees from her family, she decided to use the hashtag so they could track what was going on in her life.
#SareeNotSorry has grown rapidly though and has since come to represent a rebuttal against the increasing frequency of xenophobic discourse in the United States. Rawal says that debates surrounding immigration, especially in the lead up to the US election has made her acutely aware of the stigma that exists in western societies.
The hashtag has become a way for Indian-American women to both consider and demonstrate what it means to be Indian in today’s world. In an essay for Medium Rawal wrote "It's time we stop apologizing for our skin color, language and culture".
Fashion has become a way for people to display their identity; especially because it is the first thing other people see and make judgements on.
#SareeNotSorry has received an enormous amount of attention and is being used by many social media users to express and champion their own identities and cultures, whether it is through wearing a saree or not.
Image Source: Instagram