Nothing can beat the gracefulness of six-yards draped around your body, be it on festive occasions or even on a day-to-day basis. A bright, colourful chiffon or a crisp cotton saree with intricate accessories is enough to make you stand out of in a crowd, especially at a time when most of us have relegated it to an occasional wear. Millions of weavers are languishing in poverty across the country owing to a dip in demand for handloom sarees among the current generation. This is sad! But a few brave women in the city have taken up the task of breathing a new life to the saree culture in the city by reinventing it for the present generation.
Sujata Pai, Ambi
Sujata Pai, the creator of Ambi has undertaken to show the world a new India, with an aura of elegance, innovative craftsmanship and modern sensibilities. Her love for design runs deep as she selects the weaves and patterns that add a tinge of freshness to every occasion they grace. Standing firm on the pillars of creativity and diversity her range displays a balance of conventional and contemporary styles. Sujata also specializes in reinventing old pieces. She can restore an old saree by giving it a new character while preserving its heritage. With weaves that make traditions, the collection brings to your wardrobe some fabulous fabrics like Jamdani, Kanchipuram, Ikat, Maheswari, and Chanderi amongst others.
Priyanjoli Basu, Priyanjoli
Priyanjoli, grew up hearing decades old stories about the sarees that her mother and grandmother wore. During the various lives she led in Mumbai as a student, stylist and costume designer, her fascination with textile was apparent in her work. Studying fashion in London only reinforced her passion for handwoven fabric. Upon returning to India, she began travelling across small Indian villages and working with master-craftsmen, listening to the beat of their looms, understanding their processes, and gaining insight into their perceptions. Her current work seeks to explore the space between the rich textile heritage of India and the constant evolution of global fashion. The collection celebrates the beauty of handwoven textiles, and the finesse that can only be found in works that are hand crafted and not mass produced.
Rajini Sarma Balachandran, Jari: The Sari Studio
Rajini migrated to the U.S. in the late 1960s. After her Masters in Comparative Politics at the Georgia State University, she went on to do her Ph. D in International Relations at New York University and taught at different institutions in the U.S. from 1981 to 1993. When she returned to India, she looked at everything with nostalgia. Design helped her engage in a dialogue with a tradition untouched by time. She designed a Kanjeevaram saree. As a student of art history, she felt a kind of academic thrill to passionately explore art, architecture and the myths surrounding the traditional motifs of the silk saree. Jari: The Sari Studio was opened in 2011 with the aim of linking fine arts to Kancheepuram design. She works closely with weavers to create stunning Kanjeevaram sarees as she believes this is the right time to reinvent the Kanjeevaram saree, re-energise it and to think about it again and again and present it in a format that is suitable for youngsters.