My Intimate Relationship With Saree!April 26, 2020
When you think of Indian Fashion the one garment that always comes to mind is that beautiful textured 6inch strip of cloth called the saree.
It has been the choice of attire for women for centuries in India and its neighbouring countries.
My most vivid memory of growing up has been me playing dress ups in my mother’s saree with the works – the heels, earrings, bangles, necklaces, and a bindi.
Of course, I didn’t know how to drape it at that age and would just wrap it around me like a scarf; but what I remember is that luminous feeling of being glamourous and very lady like.
It always made me happy and I guess this is where the psychology of why we wear certain clothes and colours more than others comes into play; it reminds us of an emotion, a nostalgia and a memory.
Over the years, I have learnt to drape the saree and worn it on several occasions, festivals and my own wedding and every time I have worn it, I have felt fabulous.
As an ode to my love for the saree, I incorporated it in my fashion range from the luxurious Mogra Velvet Saree, liquid gold Kamal Lame Saree, to the intricate zari work in the Chinar Gold Zari Saree. All of them celebrating the magic of saree.
Learning the art of draping the saree was like a rite of passage for me, an opportunity to bond with my mother over our common love for the garment. I have truly inhabited the saree, imbued it with my own sense of meaning and purpose, as women across India—farmers, weavers, dancers, lawyers, teachers—have done for centuries.
Having lived outside of India for close to two decades, the saree has acted as a membrane between me and the country of my birth. It has been fuelled by longing, a way to speak back to my heritage, to a place left behind, and to re-affirm a connection.
In recent years, saree seems to have taken a back seat amongst the younger generation; it been considered too archaic in the age of fast fashion.
A lot comes down to the fact that the act of wearing a saree can feel contrived; a garment you can’t inhabit freely.
There is a “perception shift” among India’s young urban population, who are increasingly mistaking the garment for one thing by relegating it as cumbersome occasion wear. All this pomp and process has made the saree quite intimidating.
For this shift to change, we will need to dig deeper into our roots. The saree’s story is one of versatility and dynamism. Our grandmothers and grandaunts have worn it with an ease and total lack of pretence that perhaps is what we’re all striving for—in how we dress, and how we live. Acknowledging this can be freeing.
A saree doesn’t have to be a fussy performance, bound up with dogmatic notions of identity. It can simply be what you/I want it to be.