Saree for hire
Don't feel like splurging on a sambalpuri ikat silk, but tempted to wear it for the upcoming festive season? Become a member of this new city library
A typical saree hoarder will splurge on the garment, like bibliophiles on books. You may not have an occasion that merits the indulgence, neither would you care about the space-crunch in your wardrobe. You just buy it, because like the blurb of a book and the author whose name stares back at you on the cover, there is little to second-guess when you see a fine weave, or a stand-out print on a running piece of cloth. What one doesn't realise is that any collection—be it books or sarees—is susceptible to wear and tear. The more you hoard, the more they beg for attention. "But nobody has time to wear a saree every single day," says Mumbai-based media professional and saree lover, Sonia Kulkarni.
It's one of the reasons why Kulkarni and award-winning social entrepreneur Revathi Roy launched a new initiative, The Saree Library, last week. The online saree rental platform on Facebook and Instagram, provides a wide range of drapes from Roy and Kulkuarni's own personal collections, at reasonable price points, for those who'd rather not buy, but wear the first gorgeous saree that meets their eye.
"Both of us are passionate about sarees. In fact, every time I travel to some place in India, I make it a point to buy at least one local saree from there. Over the years, our collection has grown; we've also had many friends ask us if they could borrow our sarees for a good occasion," says Kulkarni. The germ of the idea for the platform began here. "Since we both are entrepreneurs, we thought why not begin by creating a saree library, where we could share our collection and make it accessible to everyone who fantasises wearing lovely sarees." Revathi adds, "A lot of women either don't have the knack for buying sarees, or don't want to invest in them, because they just wear it once in a while. It becomes easier then to rent something."
The collection is currently split into five categories—regular work wear, traditional, party, wedding and branded sarees. "This cuts down the hassle of shopping for sarees, and also helps de-clutter your wardrobe. How much space can you keep making for a new saree?" asks Kulkarni. To rent a saree, all one needs to do is browse through the collection on the official Instagram or Facebook page and WhatsApp the selected look. Once the payment is made—there is a security deposit—the dry-cleaned saree will be delivered to your doorstep, and picked up later.
Roy's logistics company, Hey Deedee, which is run by an all-women's team will handle the deliveries. "The girls [at Hey Deedee] are so excited about delivering these sarees. This is actually an initiative for women, by women, and of women," says Roy. The Saree Library eventually plans to open the platform for other collectors. "They will also earn a small revenue through this," says Kulkarni. "At the end of the day, we just want more women to wear sarees and feel beautiful."
Saree wishlist where to buy, if you must
If you can't get enough of the humble and hassle-free cottons, browse through Suta's handmade collection, which ranges from mul cotton, linen, jamdani (semi-power loom), khesh (recycled cotton) and batik. Suta has roped in artisans from across the country to create raw designs, using their ancestral weaving processes. It's simple and understated, and we like it best, with kalamkari and ikat blouses.
To shop: suta.in
This Instagram page, curated by Mumbai-based Sonali Kumar, is for those who love patronising hand-weaves, especially chikankari and tepchi. "I have a lot of kota in my collection, because it's not harmful to the environment and the practices they follow, come from the Earth," says Kumar, who procures her sarees from weavers across Karnatka, Rajasthan and UP.
To shop: instagram.com/anandis_trunk
This home art studio has an interesting curation of Odisha sarees tweaked to contemporary taste by weaver clusters across the state. From sakata, meaning double-ikat which is imbued with motifs and layouts, to Habaspuri silk (finely hand-woven in the Chicheguda village of Odisha) and Jagatsinghpur sarees, an amalgamation of Bengal and Odisha weave (it features ikat border with jamdani and ikat pallu), this is a collection that needs to be seen to believed.
To shop: vanivrtti.com
Catch up on all the latest Mumbai news, crime news, current affairs, and also a complete guide on Mumbai from food to things to do and events across the city here. Also download the new mid-day Android and iOS apps to get latest updates
Sign up for all the latest news, top galleries and trending videos from Mid-day.comSubscribe
Meet Gladson Peter - An artist who can play 13 instruments at a time