In love with the SARI

The casually begun initiative on social media, the #100Sareepact, by Bengaluru-based Ally Matthan and Anju Maudgal Kadam, is wrapping women in a sari like never before. It has catapulted the garment to a new high across the country. In the city, young and vivacious Lakshmi Shenoy signed up for the pact recently and is excited about wearing the garment 100 times in a year. For 38-year-old Lakshmi wearing a sari is an act of joy. Besides she is bucking the trend that young women are not keen to wear the sari commonly or everyday. As a school girl she would tie the sari and play ‘house’ with her sisters. In college she carried the sari with aplomb. Today she wears it even when out shopping, a rarity among young women.

Most of the sari designers from the city notice the trend that the young are wearing it accessorised as common day wear though it still reigns as the attire to be worn at a function.

And so the designers are pulling all stops to cater to this clientele.

Diya John, 25, of Salt Studio in Panampilly Nagar says, “I love wearing saris, actually most women do.” For her young clients she rehashes the mature look of a sari into a playful one. Her new range of linen saris in pastel shades are particularly aimed at the young.

Tracy Thomas, who runs designer boutique Collage, again in Panampilly Nagar, finds the gay floral look trending. “That has a very youthful feel and is sure to attract youngsters,” she says. Some elements that designers are adding to the sari, “a heavy belt, a shirt or even a jacket worn over it, are co-ordinates that give the sari a contemporary, young look,” she adds.

Chennai based designer from Kerala, Nivya Babu, in her twenties, began her sari venture NVY Studio after she could not find a sari of choice. She bought fabrics, made borders, yoked prints, matched textures and created a sari for herself. Today, she caters to a niche clientele which likes to wear saris with a difference. “We are making the sari relevant to today’s clientele and in that way we are veering away from traditional saris,”’ says Nivya. Her choice though is the traditional cream and gold of the Kerala sari, but for her clientele she lets funky creativity take charge. She says, “If someone wants a cartoon sari, I do that, I you want cats I will give you that.”

Nivya patches Kalamkari on georgettes, silk on chiffon, prints on plains, plaids on prints and such. “Mirror work is on its way out and florals are in,”’ she says.

If the sari is getting younger in designs, its traditional look and purity still commands a big following, strangely even among the young.

“A sari with traditional weave, prints, texture and motifs will never go out of vogue,” says 24-year-old Sharmila Nair who began her sari venture, Red Lotus with a collection of just four traditional saris. She received an overwhelming response, one that has encouraged her to take the reach of the traditional sari further. Sharmila not only wears a sari as often as possible but also liaisons with weavers in Kanchipuram to weave traditional motifs that have been relegated by the onslaught of modernity. Saris in traditional weaves and motifs are her USP. As a college student in St Teresa’s she wore saris frequently and found her friends enquiring about the garment. She began doing research on the sari, for the love of it.

Sandhya Jilson sources traditional saris from across India and retails them from her outlet Indus Affaire in Edappally. Sandhya pitches for the traditional. Her customers are purists in the true sense of the word, the ones who treasure the narrative behind a sari. “The sari takes the shape and seal of the person you are,” says Sandhya adding that youngsters will take time to fall in love with the traditional sari.

“The sari for me is the embodiment of womanhood. No other outfit compliments the woman as much as the sari,” says Lakshmi who for a year would repair and enhance damaged, old saris and give them a new look and a new lease of life. Wedding saris were often brought to her then to preserve and reinvent. Now with a routine to wear the sari, at least twice a week, Lakshmi has a ‘Tuesday Wear’, a sari that she dons to the temple on Tuesdays. Her post on this weekday sari is often waited for, she says. She is part of another sari group, #60handloomsareepact, begun by textile expert Sabita Radhakrishna, which encourages women to wear handloom saris.

“Sari means amma to mean,” says Anjali Kurian daughter of singer Usha Uthup who wears the sari every single day. Her collection of gorgeous Kanchipuram saris, worn so effortlessly, carried with grace and elegance during her shows has made her an ambassador of the sari. Says Anjali, “Sari is part of her identity. Her collection is a canvas full of stories about each sari. I too love wearing a sari.” Nivya endorses such initiatives reasoning that they are drawing the young into the world of saris. “It makes the garment less alien to the young woman and encourages her to embrace it. I don’t think an occasion is required to wear the sari,” says the young designer. And so the sisterhood of saris grows it romances, celebrates and draws the young in. Lakshmi says she is truly pleased.

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Printable version | Oct 15, 2021 1:42:57 AM |

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