Celebrating the enduring power of female friendships and saree love …
Photos: Vincent Boyer (Say hi on instagram @vincetravelbook)
February is called the month of love and I have always wondered why celebrate love just one day of the year. The world today could do with a lot more love and understanding.
One of my biggest gripes with Valentine’s day is that it predominantly sells the idea of cis heterosexual romantic love. The majority of cards depict images of heterosexual couples, or male and female animals, soft toys, and the like, in the same way that anniversary cards are almost entirely designed for opposite sex partners.
However, as saccharine sweet, cheesy and commercialised as I may think the socially accepted version of Valentine’s day is, I can’t help but get behind the message of celebrating positivity and affection. Just not the romantic, boy-girl kind.
What I would like to celebrate this month is the love and solidarity that has ensured my existence today: female friendships.
We are told that our romantic partners are supposed to complete us but our most profound relationships are just as likely to be with our close female friends. For many women, friends are our primary partners through life and are those who centre us emotionally.
So in the sprit of sisterhood and saree love, all through this month I am going to highlight fabulous women who love sarees. Some of them wear sarees, some design them and others work with weavers and karigars to bring to us most delectable unstitched concoctions.
The saree I am wearing in the photos is a symbol of that exact kind of love in more ways than one, I won’t go into details as I’ve been told not to!
It is a Begumpuri weave from the cluster of villages around Hooghly in West Bengal and it has been customised with stunning Moroccan motifs embroidered on by the lovely team at Sutaknotty (find them on instagram or facebook). Begumpuri sarees are cotton weaves with bold lines and geometric patterns that run across the body.
The lady behind Sutaknotty, Sweta is a veritable encyclopaedia of weaves from West Bengal and she customises sarees with the most exquisite and quirky touches. She also patiently answers questions about handlooms without being pushy to make sales and will try and source the most obscure weaves.
It is women like Sweta who make online shopping for sarees a fun experience for me and Sutaknotty is the kind of business I would like to see do tremendously well.
I am tired of resellers making a quick buck by selling really commonly available, reasonably priced weaves for exorbitant prices by presenting them as something on the brink of extinction!
Wearing handcrafted, ethically made clothing doesn’t have to cost heaps and there are businesses run by ladies who not only sell the most amazing stuff but are also taking sisterhood to new heights. Happy love month Sweta and I am glad you’re a part of my life.