Winter weather in a noil silk saree

Here’s to rocking the saree all year round, summer or winter …

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Photos: Vincent Boyer (Say hi on instagram @vincetravelbook)

What does one wear for a cold afternoon of jumping in puddles with the puppy and exploring abandoned tunnels to stare unblinkingly at glow worms? Thick denims, multiple sweaters, a chunky beanie with a coarse noil saree and a hand crocheted Wayuu Mochila bag from Colombia … But of course!

Noil is thé fabric made from short strands and knots left over from combing wool or spinning silk, it has a slightly rough texture and drapes like a dream.

I am very fond of handcrafted bags like the one in the photos, designed by the women of La Guajira tribe in Colombia. I have them in different colours and sizes,  they are not just useful for holding items, but in my opinion they are works of art!
No nonsensical rules were followed to wear this length of fabric, no shudder inducing blouse or petticoat were worn and there is absolutely not one safety pin used.

The saree kept me warm as well as comfortable and did not get in my way through the entire day. I wore a drape that is my own concoction based on the fall of the fabric and my mood for the day: short to my ankles, pleated messily, pallu out of the way and didn’t have to think twice about it.

I’m not sure how I ended up making this drape, but I know it’s adapted to my own needs and I switched things up when I needed to as there were no safety-pins to worry about.

I wish people realised how easy it is to wear sarees – the fact that they are cumbersome is an unfavourable conclusion, mostly developed through the rigid and outdated perceptions of the ‘correct way’ to wear a saree shoved down our throats.

It’s just uncut cloth…. truly fluid and limitless!

This saree is a pre-loved find, I bought it from a friend who had used this saree to her heart’s content and had maintained it well.

In my opinion, two of the best ways to have a truly sustainable wardrobe is to re-purpose items and buy pre-loved goodies.

I continue to wear this saree heaps as we transition into the coldest months of winter in the Southern Hemisphere. I tend to buy good quality fabric, try and treat them well and when I finally get tired of a piece I re-purpose it or give it away to someone who’ll appreciate it more.

So far I’ve personally chosen not to sell my clothing because one I am lazy, two I don’t like hounding people for money and three I feel that I am reasonably privileged and should learn to give things away.
We’re now entering our third decade of fast fashion, an accelerated system of clothing production that promises a quick turnaround of trends at incredibly low prices and is reliant on a supply chain that coils through some of the lowest wage economies on this planet.
It’s not just our appetite for fast fashion that is destructive, our tendency to covet and hoard sustainable clothing can be pretty awful too.

I want to be able to look at beautiful things without wanting to have them all in my wardobe and I am learning to be a more mindful consumer.

If you want to see more of my winter adventures in various handwoven sarees, click here, here, here and here.

 

 

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Gamcha saree and Sydney autumn

Every piece in this outfit has tells a story, of the people who make it and the indigenous cultures that benefit from consumers ethically purchasing original pieces of hand-made clothing.

 

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Photos: Vincent Boyer (Say hi on instagram @vincetravelbook)

The saree I am wearing here is a coarse, stiff, handloom-ed cotton gamcha worn with a kediyu that young Bharvad girls wear paired with a Wayuu Mochila bag.

The gamcha is a thin, coarse, traditional cotton towel from the Indian subcontinent that comes in different sizes, colour schemes and complexity of pattern based on the width of the loom. They are a staple in homes where I come from in East India, are woven locally and I find the chequered pattern endlessly fascinating.

The Bharvad are a group of people who used to lead nomadic lives herding cattle, goats and sheep in Gujarat, western India. They wear the most amazing clothes as well as jewellery, all of which is hand-crafted in designs and patterns specific to the tribe.

I don’t believe in having matching blouses and petticoats for every saree, I like to make my separates work with multiple items. For example: This kediyu is worn here as a saree blouse, is also used as a jacket as well as a top with jeans and I am actually wearing a denim skirt under the saree.

The bag in the photos is a Wayuu Mochila piece made by the indigenous women of the Wayuu Tribe from La Guajira, Colombia. Each Mochila Bag is a unique piece of art on its own and takes about a month to be hand-knitted.

Every piece in this outfit has tells a story, of the people who make it and the indigenous cultures that benefit from consumers ethically purchasing original pieces of hand-made clothing. I am looking to build a more meaningful wardrobe comprising of pieces representing a deeper connection to the earth through natural fabrics and to cultures who make their clothes through artisanal crafting and design.