Books

How ‘The Fluid Sari’ melds draping and art in one concise and interactive guide

Part of the zine’s cover

Part of the zine’s cover  

more-in

It may not be National Handloom Day anymore but this zine by Nikaytaa of The Indian Draping Co invites you to colour your wildest draping dreams and to celebrate the best of the six-yard-garment

How does one pull off a one-shoulder drape? Or a pleated skirt style? What about a Madhubhani drape? Niketa Malhotra, better known as Nikaytaa, is the founder of The Indian Draping Co (TIDC) and her colouring book and zine The Fluid Sari, part of The Fluid Zine answers all these questions through simple yet catchy steps... so, maybe skip a FaceTime session with your mother or grandmother and have this little guide handy.

“When I started my draping workshops about a year and a half ago, I was looking at ways to give people some notes,” she recalls, “because it’s not easy for people to remember their drapes once they go home. I released some YouTube videos but I felt that something like a book would be good, something they can carry and keep.”

Between the lines

Ramaa Sahasrabuddhe, who was in XII Std at the time, illustrated The Fluid Sari. The project kicked off last August and by December, the first version was printed. When the orders built up in numbers, Nikaytaa approached a printing company to meet the demands.

Ramaa Sahasrabuddhe, the zine’s illustrator

Ramaa Sahasrabuddhe, the zine’s illustrator  

“I wanted to capture the essence of a zine with this,” she says, “I have a lot of feminist zines and colouring books, and that’s when the interactive concept was introduced. The main thing was I wanted it to be easily accessible; a lot of the sari books out there are difficult to carry!”

The spirit of the booklet is captured through TIDC’s hashtag #ClaimYourAuthenticSelf. Finalising on a few drapes out of more than 200 in the world wasn’t easy, points out Nikaytaa. “There are three parts to it,” she explains, “first is the background. Writing that was tricky, understanding what the minimum someone needs to know when they pick this book up.

The second, of course, is deciding which drapes to feature, given there is such a huge repertoire from which to choose. When Nikayataa reflects on this time, it shows she had just as much fun doing it as those who will be buying her book.

Niketa Malhotra aka Nikaytaa

Niketa Malhotra aka Nikaytaa  

“This first version, The Fluid Sari, is for women... what she needs to know about styling a skirt or a gown,” Nikaytaa describes, “I put myself in the participants’ shoes and answered my own question of ‘what do they want and need?’ But I also had to simplify it with each drape process having no more than five to six steps. Initially, we started out with nine to 12 steps. I asked my friends to whom I’d send a version every couple of weeks and they’d provide feedback and help combine two or more steps to simplify it. I’ve also had to photograph myself doing a step to make it easier to translate into a step for the zine.”

The final bit to tackle was the text, as Nikaytaa wanted the zine to be picture-heavy and avoid clutter on the page. “The whole experience has to be intuitive and easy to take in!” In between each drape process are little boxes with profound quotes from powerful women such as Maya Angelou and Madonna. Is there a future for an e-zine? After all, with tablets and styluses offering marker and colouring abilities, the digital market is worth tapping into. Nikaytaa simply responds, “It’s in the pipeline!”

TIDC has a far reach to men, women and the transgender community and Nikaytaa wants to create more zines to celebrate this stylish kaleidoscope.

‘The Fluid Zine’ is ₹200 and is available on Amazon India and on Instamojo. International shipping is available.

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Printable version | Dec 11, 2019 5:26:05 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/books/the-fluid-sari-2019-by-nikaytaa-of-the-indian-draping-co/article28975189.ece

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