I like to wear handcrafted sarees in ways that are fun and interesting for me but I am not sure that making saree draping videos is what I want to do …
Photos: Vincent Boyer (Say hi on instagram @vincetravelbook)
In these photos I am wearing a light and breezy cotton Angara handloom saree from the East Godavari region in Andhra Pradesh. I draped it over a Sanganeri block print barely there, cropped slip and ensured that the pallu and the pleats are all out of my way as I needed to be nimble climbing cliffs and jumping around rocks.
The handwoven backpack from South America had all my essentials for the day and the beat up sneakers were comfy for the amount of walking we had to do. This drape has no name but it has two sets of pleats and a knot to join two ends of the pallu so there is nothing trailing behind me.
As per usual no petticoats or safety pins were harmed (read used) to drape the saree or keep it in place.
A lot of people contact me asking for videos on drapes that I wear my six or nine yard sarees in. There are also a lot of people who ask me what my draping charges are.
I’d just like to clarify, PleatsNPallu is a fun project for me, I am not someone who is looking to drape sarees on people. To be honest, half the times I don’t even know what the end result will be as I just pleat, knot and wrap based on my activity/ saree for the day.
There is enough information around on the hundreds of traditional Indian drapes and they are a good place to start experimenting.
I am not comfortable making videos and I above all I choose not to make videos. If you are a friend or someone I know, I will definitely give you an idea of how to recreate some of my drapes. I didn’t start this blog or the accompanying instagram handle to become anyone’s go-to for different ways to wear a saree.
This space exists so I can share the fun that are sarees. The idea is not to teach people how to drape but to encourage anyone who is interested in wearing the unstitched cloth to enjoy the process.
The photos I post here are not the result of carefully chosen locations, meticulously applied make-up, professionally styled outfits or even a professional photographer. They are a result of us taking pictures running up and down mountains or cliffs by the coast or exploring a new country and most of the time I wear ethically made, hand crafted clothing, without a lick of make-up on my face and my hair is windblown.
The goal isn’t to get people to do what I do but it is to start a conversation about being comfortable doing what comes naturally to us and wearing sarees the way we feel like.
I started posting photos because I didn’t see photos online of everyday women having fun in sarees. The top images were the ones shot for big brands or designers and that kind of styling doesn’t appeal to me.
I am hoping to accomplish the following by posting photos and talking about wearing handloom sarees:
- Show that a young modern woman can have fun styling the unstitched cloth for her everyday adventures and challenge stereotypical notions about what women in sarees can and cannot do.
- Be free to express myself and not be shackled by age old beliefs of how a saree should be worn.
- Convey that it is wonderful to not following rules of how a woman should dress or behave.
- Reject the notion that petticoats or saree blouses or safety-pins or even bras are essential to wear the six or nine yards.
- Shun gender roles roles forced on me. I absolutely have no time for people who think that women look the best in sarees, all Indian women must know how to drape them and wear them regularly! Sarees are probably the oldest, continually worn unisex garment and I have no time for gender in general.
- Actively encourage the idea that everyone can style the saree in ways that they like, not give or take style advice from strangers but be a part of the movement that rejects outdated ideas of morality associated with the garment.
- Being liberated from religious connotations. Yes, I love wearing nine-yard sarees and I refuse to be a good Hindu about it, I like my sarees without a side of religious fanaticism.
- Have a wardrobe that is mostly void of man-made fabrics like polyester, acrylic, nylon etc. I like my skin to breathe and my clothes to be bio-degradable and not clog up landfills.
- To completely get rid of fast fashion from my life.
- Not be limited by body type or physical characteristics. Rubbish rules like short girls should’t wear sarees with flats, dark girls shouldn’t wear bright colours etc have no place in my life!
I am happy to share what I do via photos, writing and maybe in person but I don’t like draping sarees on people I don’t know.
However, if there is a cute puppy or kitty looking to flounce about draped in an unstitched length of fabric, I would definitely play dress-up with them. Its just people I am wary of.