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Reinventing Indian Handlooms: Wearing Saree over Jeans!

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With the re-emergence of Indian handlooms at all the various Fashion Weeks, with Anita Dongre’s Grass Roots initiative and Samant Chauhan giving a contemporary twist to Dabka embroidery and zari work at the AIFW A/W 2016, … with FabIndia and Ogaan, and their lovely collection of Indian handlooms… with young upcoming designers like Preetham Jukalkar and Mayraa and their unique twist on traditional Indian handlooms… and with young ecommerce portals like  gleamberry.com providing a platform to Indian weavers and craftsmen… Indian handlooms seem to be becoming exotic once again!

Indian arts and weaves, that are so gorgeous and intricate, seemed to have lost their luster in the last few decades, not because they weren’t beautiful, but because their styling had lost relevance with the modern Indian who was leaning towards a more western lifestyle… aspiring for western fashion! Those were the years when opinion leaders of the fashion industry wanted to wear Armani and Dior dresses rather than an elaborate Banarasi saree.

Today however, if you look around, young  India seems to have reached a place where we’re trying hard to rediscover our roots and heritage. Where we’re all trying to find relevance and re-connect with our past! Whether it’s the popularity of Devdutt Patnaik and Amish Tripathi, or the resurgence of Yoga and Ayurveda… our age-old stories and practices are coming back and becoming a part of our lives, albeit in a more modern and relevant context!

So while Amish turned Lord Shiva into a super-cool, fantastical super-hero, Ayurveda gained popularity in the form of herbal and natural cosmetics… and Yoga, became ‘art of living’! That’s when the new-age modern Indian decided that our age-old past, was actually a gold-mine worth exploring! The same thing now, is happening to Indian Handlooms!

With us having reached a stage where western fashion has now become common-place, the who’s who of the fashion industry are now picking up this trend of rediscovering our past, and are very innovatively giving it a modern twist! Hence, Indian handlooms aren’t  just being worn as sarees, kurtas and dupattas… they’ve been reinvented into blazers and suits, into dresses, into jumpsuits and Palazzos, into gowns and skirts… into whatever it is that you can fancy!

Dhotis have suddenly come back and not because men were wearing them… but because, in an innovative twist of fashion-fate, women started wearing them again, first!

And backed by (or should we say, ‘driven by’) the Modi Government’s ‘Make in India’ agenda, we’re sure to see a lot more Indian handlooms in newer avatars these coming years!

Ikkat, for example, is one of the big trends this season… So one search for ‘ikkat’ on Roposo and you’ll find everything from Ikkat  shoes to Ikkat underwear !!

At the AIFW 2016 Autumn/winter show, we found Virtues by Viral, Ashish and Vikrant making ‘Mashru’ textiles all so fashionable, whileAnavila showed us how handloom cotton sarees were way cooler when worn on sneakers, knit tops and pants!

So here’s a tip!!

If you really wanna stay ahead of the fashion curve, go dig out those old handloom silk sarees from your mom’s cupboard that you always scoffed at! Think out-of-the box! Turn them into something cool… like pants and a short jacket! Or a gorgeous long maxi skirt and a crop top…. Or better yet… just wear them as they are – like a saree in a unique drape with a sexy backless blouse… or wear it over jeans and a crop top and watch! You’ll end up being one of the trendiest fashionistas around 😉

Here’s a look I created by wearing this gorgeous rich pink cotton-silk hand woven saree from FabIndia over black jeans and a crop top!

Hope you like the pics!

Photo Courtesy: Archana Chaudhari (https://www.facebook.com/ACChaudhari)

Outfit details:

Hand woven cotton-silk Saree: FabIndia

Black Jeans: Zara

Black, off-shoulder crop top: Jealous 21

Waist belt: From my mom’s treasure box… was given to her by her parents at her wedding!

Earrings: The Silver street at Chandni Chowk, Delhi!

Footwear: Charles and Keith

The cool thing about this drape is that it’s so damn easy to wear! I’m really not an expert at wearing sarees but this one, is cake-walk! You start with the pleating at the front and then just go on and take the pallu behind your shoulder!

I’m wearing it on my right shoulder but you could wear it on your left as well!

As you see, I’ve wrapped the extra length of the pallu around my neck (like a scarf) and onto my fore-arms… for added dramatic effect. But if you don’t want to do that and want to keep it more comfortable… then just increase the number of pleats in the front so that it uses up all the excess fabric and you get a proper mid-length pallu at the back!

 

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