India, Jan 27 – The sari, the most recognizable garment worn by women (and men) all across India, never really went away – but recently it’s enjoying a strong and meaningful comeback.
Malika Verma Kashyap, who runs Bangalore-based creative agency Border & Fall, is spearheading a movement called ‘The Sari Project’, an idea she’s been toying with for a few years.
“It’s 5:30am,” says Kashyap, “I’m taking a flight, wearing a sari with a shirt and boots.”
In December she ran a successful Kickstarter campaign, raising funds to create a short ‘How to Drape’ documentary film series on the sari. The plan is to include 84 versions of the thousands of ways to wear the garment and will also capture famous sari-wearers such as Mother Teresa and Maharani Gayatri Devi of Jaipur.
“The Nivi drape is the drape that most people associate with being the ‘correct’ way to wear the sari,” she says, “that becomes limiting.”
Kashyap, who grew up in Montreal, feels the sari is important for India is growing and taking a new role as a bold player on the world stage.
The sari is a common sight across the country – the average Indian mother, auntie, the women working on road construction in the capital, and Hijras, the religiously protected third-gender community of India, all wear one.
While modern fashion and slightly more casual Indian wear are undoubtedly the easy choices for most young women, who tend to save the sari as an option for more formal occasions, things are changing.
“The sari was declining very very fast, but over the last five years there has been a revival,” says Rta Kapur Chisti. “There are pockets where it has been favored – law courts, international banks and so forth, where wearing a sari means women are taken far more seriously.”
HSBC India’s former chairperson, Naina Lal Kidwai, is a well-known global ambassador for the sari as is ICICI Bank CEO Chanda Kochhar.
Chisti is a textiles scholar, author of The Saris of India, and runs ‘The Sari School’ in New Delhi – where, since 2009, she has been teaching in regular workshops to young locals, expatriate women, fashion designers and anyone who’d like to learn ways to wearing the sari.
“More and more younger people are coming,” she says, adding that part of the appeal is that they are able to see how a sari can be recreated to become anything from loose pantaloons to a dress or even a gown.
– Article courtesy Forbes
Pic featured above shows Young Indian women wearing hand-woven saris in different styles. Photo courtesy of Taanbaan and the Sari School.