The Offbeat Sari

The Offbeat Sari

As a child, my mum would drape her sari every day, and I would watch, amazed at how quickly she would transform this long piece of fabric into something to wear. I guess it was then that my fascination with the colours and variety of this garment started.

Priya aged 7 wearing a sari

Growing up, she was certainly in the minority of people around me who would wear a sari, so I never dreamt I would see a whole exhibition dedicated to these six yards of fabric! The Offbeat Sari, is currently on at the Design Museum in London. Initially, I was expecting the exhibition to be a summary of the the history and evolution of the sari, as there is a hugely rich heritage to be shared. But instead I was pleasantly surprised, that it offered a view into the sari as a garment as worn today.

From pairing it with trainers to donning it with casual t-shirts, these innovative styling choices offer visitors a new view of the sari. Contemporary designers like Raw Mango and Sabyasachi from Mumbai show off their beautiful designs like those below. The different ways to drape also brought some fresh ideas of how to wear the sari.

Offbeat Sari

I was also able to attend a brilliant workshop on sari drapes led by The Friday Sari Project. And more than teach me different ways of draping, it was interesting to hear how Mehala has challenged the idea that a sari is only an item for special occasions. Instead she's taken soft cotton saris and using them for everyday wear. I'm inspired to get one of these to use for the local supermarket shop or school drop off - what do you think?

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