A year has passed and I cannot believe that it’s been a year since I’ve been blogging.
I just wish I had done a better job of keeping up with it on a continuous basis.
My saree journey has evolved to a great extent. Actively engaged in learning. And it has enriched not only my consumption pattern, but also my knowledge of weaves, the saree economy and its various niches.
Met so many interesting women who were more than happy to pass on their knowledge of various weaves with me.
And my saree goals that I had set for myself last year are still going strong.
I have come to learn that there are as many local saree brands online, as there are women wearing them. (I am exaggerating, but you certainly get the drift). Brands, resellers, weavers, cooperatives, NGOs and so on. Women who actively engage in selling them consider it as sustainable form of income.
What I have learned this last year about sarees!
The saree economy – The saree economy is gigantic. It’s a 40,000 crore sector.
We women buy sarees on the basis of festivals and occasions. Formal or informal, casual or traditional. And then there are the impulse purchases, largely driven by online brands and their social media accounts. I really wonder how many of us actually go down to a store to buy anymore.
I got to add though that up until a year ago, that was the only way of saree buying I knew. But now the dynamics have changed. Those who are store brand owners have had to engage in a website, social media accounts and probably even a dedicated social media manager.
And for us as consumers, it has become a shopping on the palm of your hand. And I tell you, it is not healthy. A level of consumerism has spurred like there is no tomorrow. Shopping has become a race.
There is one saree you view on someone, you instantly take a liking to it – ask that person where you got it from or check out the source in the post as most Instagrammers do these days. Check out the shop or go on a crusade to procure it for yourself.
If the saree is within budget, then yes go for it. If not, then rationalize it by saying that I don’t think I need another saree, or the colour is not great after all, or where would I wear it. A sour grapes story.
I have done this a few times too. A Telia Rumaal, a Paithani, a richly done handmade Chikankari saree are still evading me.
For me, design takes precedence. Followed by price. I have a certain proclivity towards cottons. But if the design isn’t great, I steer clear.
Expanding my weave repertoire – Apart from the saree goals I had set for myself, (read my saree goals of 2019 here), expanding my weave repertoire is what I am seeking at the moment.
Given all the states of India, the various fabrics, weaves, block prints, embroideries, handlooms from each of the regions, there are more than 100 types of sarees, easily. One cannot possibly own all of them, but they can be borrowed and experienced.
A Kotpad, a Bhujodi, a Himroo are all itching to reach my wardrobe. Although I did manage to own a Bandhani saree, a Begumpuri, a Chettinad cotton and a Puneri cotton in the last few months.
One of the ambitious goals I have set for myself if breaking the barrier and comfort of the Nivi drape, the only drape I have ever known. There are more than 80 ways to drape the saree. Nivi is the more recent and modern version for the modern woman. It is the only drape I have known and over the years, well…mastered. I still don’t get the perfect pleats, but I am comfortable enough to spend 9-10 hours in it.
The Kashta drape usually done by Maharastrians and a very common sight in Mumbai. Although I’ve been given to understand that Maharashtrian Brahmins drape the Kashta very differently from other communities.
There’s also the ‘seedha palla’ as they call it mainly sported by the Gujarati communities. The anchal comes in the front and tucked in at the back.
I have never quite got around to wearing a saree where a fall isn’t attached. And having seen a lot of Instagrammers who have over time become great friends, I am slowly but surely mustering the courage to do so.
Some draping styles do not necessitate the fall as they go above the ankle. This means overcoming the mindset to attach the fall to every saree I get.
Aparna happens to be one of my favourite drape queens of Instagram. She takes her knowledge to mortals like me making the drape easy and practical.
Democratic, dramatic and aspirational at the same time.
I am not into luxury goods. To me, they are an obnoxious way to spend money. Especially so because I believe that aesthetically pretty things don’t need money. They need taste – which cannot be bought.
That’s not to say I don’t have any favourite designer. I had a crush on Sabyasachi from the time I was working on Lakme Fashion week eons ago.
I have been following Anavila Mishra’s work for the longest. Both of them have such a lovely design aesthetic and I absolutely love their work.
Their success has only led them to escalate their prices with every passing season and denied me the pleasure of owning their creation.
Another designer who has caught my eye recently in Paromita Banerjee. Her personal style quotient is fantastic and the women she has styled in the past also happen to be some of my favourites – like Ashwini Iyer.
So while I am not actively looking to meet this goal in 2020, I reckon that sometime in future, when I am rich enough to buy them, or famous enough to be gifted by them, I shall hold on to this goal.