Masaba Gupta and Sabina Chopra on the fate of the saree
Masaba Gupta, who decided a long time ago that graphic prints and six yards make splendid friends, and fashion entrepreneur Sabina Chopra pontificate on the saree's future
Will the saree continue to hold fort?
Masaba Gupta (MG): Yes. It’s a never-ending love affair. While 2018 was an experimental year, this year will mark the revival of youth’s interest in the drape with a modern spin.
Sabina Chopra (SC): Last year proved to be a reality check for the design community, and after carefully looking at the market and its demands, they have learned that they have to stay with the saree. This year, there will be big focus on digital innovation in terms of weaves and colours, and emphasis on attracting the young girls to adopt sarees over say, jeans and T-shirts, through interventions to change the weight of the saree and blouse. We may see interesting versions from international brands keen on enticing Indian customers. I mean, the saree is after all, a draped garment, not too different from a Grecian gown. Last year was good for the saree; 2019 will be better.
Politics and the trajectory of the saree are intertwined. With India seeing one of its most crucial elections this year, will the saree become a mouthpiece for conventionalism?
MG: You can sense the state of a nation by observing the way its women dress. The idea of conventional and non-conventional is being constantly debated. It’s something that cannot be put into a definite bracket, so why don’t we let the women define it for themselves? For some, the idea of conventional is purist conservatism, which is a sign of the nation moving backward. While for others, conservative could indicate tradition with a hint of modernity.
SC: The question is whether we have any role models left in politics. There was Indira Gandhi, and apart from Sonia Gandhi and Maneka Gandhi whose styles are influenced by Pupul Jayakar’s curation of sarees, I don’t see anyone else. Mayawati, Uma Bharti and Sushma Swaraj won’t be inspiring anyone to wear a saree anytime soon.
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