The notion of wearing a Saree invokes long gone memories and nostalgia. It was the attire worn by our mothers and our grandmothers and are associated with some of our best childhood memories. As we grew up, in our rushed lives where we are running from office, catching a cab, making it back in time for drinks with friends, 6 yards of fabric hardly seems like the attire of choice. Even the most stunning pieces we own, only come out for special occasion and are held together not with grace, but with dozens of safety pins.
But beyond Kanjivaram, Banaras and embellished sarees, the traditional Indian attire has survived to the modern day for its practicality, even though we may fail to see it. Perfectly suited to keep us cool in the summer and yet layered enough to keep us warm when it gets colder, not to mention easy to pull up over our ankles when there are puddles in our way, sarees are heaven sent for the Indian weather. Most of all, taking the form of your body and hugging all the right curves, sarees are the most inclusive apparel that has ever existed or that is what many modern day designers have realised. The following home grown brands were founded by young Indian women who want their peers to reclaim the saree in all its glory and make it an everyday attire again.
I. Suta Bombay
Starting with their range of mul mul sarees, Suta Bombay has come a long way in a short time. The sister duo who started the brand began with a notion of nostalgia. Featuring simple casual designs, Suta finds place in its market for the sheer variety they offer. From soft solid mul mul sarees to patterned jamdani, there is a wide range of materials to choose from. Their choice of accents to make the age old saree modern, include everything from ruffles and frills to pom poms and tassels. The Mumbai based brand also does interesting blouses, kurtas, and lehengas.
Sundarii Handmade is an etsy shop that offers authentic Dabu and Ajrakh sarees. Each unique piece is made with natural fabrics like cotton, silk, modal silk, Mashru silk, mul cotton and natural dyes are used to do hand printing or resist dyeing. While the raw materials are sourced from Gujarat and Rajasthan, the brand is based out of Noida. The founder of the shop is Social Work graduate who works with underprivileged women, tribal women and artisans to promote the Indian handicrafts and provide sustainable fashion apparels to women.
III. Studio Bhang
Creating bespoke sarees in vibrant colors and interesting prints, Studio Bhang creates one off pieces that aim at making a statement. From floral and bird motifs to spring colors, contemporary blouse designs and unique accents, the brand has a youthful appeal. The online store is based out of Chennai and also do custom pieces on client to client basis. In order to maintain exclusivity, the brand only creates 3-5 pieces each and do not reproduce identical pieces on request.
IV. Margazhi Designs
Based out of Chennai, Margazhi is a designer store that offers rich traditional attire that is suited for contemporary settings. With a name that stems from the 9th month of Tamil Panchankam, Margazhi Design is reminiscent of the time of sarees, mallipoo, Jhimki and ragas and talas come out to dazzle everyone. Featuring a varied range of cotton sarees – from khadhi to jamdhani and mangalgiri, Margazhi curates monthly edits that have limited stock. They only sells five pieces of the same design, in order to maintain the exclusivity and is aimed at delivering products that focus on craftsmanship.
A saree collective that was established in 2018, Sitaara Online is based out of Coimbatore. Featuring minimalistic pieces that are elegant and comfortable, the brand is attempting to make casual wear sarees a go to attire of the millenials. Featuring soft linen, zari linen, printed cotton and malai silk fabrics in their range, the brand offers designs that are versatile enough to be taken from the streets to a wedding function, with the right styling.
So the next time you think sarees are not for you, consider getting yourself one from one of these brands that are modern, classy and practical.
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