The beautiful world of #SareeInstagram - Join the movement
There are several Saree champions on Instagram who have an engaged community of fellow saree lovers. The #SareeNotSorry by far the most popular one will throw up about 1.62 lakh updates
A few years ago the #100sareepact took over the internet. Women all over the world wore sarees whenever they could and shared pictures on social media. The ultimate goal of being wearing 100 sarees in a year. This was about 3 years ago. Since then, however, a beautiful world of #SareeInstagram has been flourishing.
Instagram is often regarded as happiest of all the social medium platforms, a world where almost everything is perfect. There are several Saree champions on Instagram who have an engaged community of fellow saree lovers. The #SareeNotSorry by far the most popular one will throw up about 1.62 lakh updates and the number has surely grown by the time you reach this. This article attempts to decipher what holds this community together.
Sonya Madeira and Sumitra Selvaraj both of whom you can find on Instagram as bit_desiriented and sareesandstories respectively began sharing pictures of themselves wearing sarees on Instagram as a means to document their outfits. Sonya interestingly points out that it felt less personal and narcissistic to put up pictures of herself on Instagram because Facebook had a lot of family, colleagues and friends.
Anandita Grover-Tayal or sareesatsaatsamundarpaar realised that she had too many sarees and wasn’t wearing them enough so she started a movement #sareetoworkincanada (She lives in Canada). She realised that a lot of her friends did not have the mind space to join in. She was looking for a company in the real world or virtual and found a lot of support on Instagram. She is the initiator of several saree sharing viral ideas. Her latest is #9sareesinMarch and women world over join in this virtual party. This is just one of the Instagram hashtags on at this time.
Interestingly apart from the love for sarees itself, these women are fabulous storytellers. Most of their updates are accompanied with engaging anecdotes or comments about life, the weave, society or even family. Sumitra tells us, "I remember a comment once from a reader saying that she came for the Sarees, but stayed for the Stories. It made me realise that, despite people saying that Instagram is all about pretty pictures, there is an actual demand for in-depth posts. I have not actually scrolled back on my posts to analyse them, but I’m guessing that there might have been a marked increase in followers once I started writing about more than just the Sarees that I wear. And I actually enjoy being able to write about a variety of topics; self-empowerment, mental health awareness, addressing bullying on social media... these are all issues that are close to my heart."
Sonya Madeira believes that because she shares a lot of information about the source of her sarees, the weave and her jewellery her followers look forward to her posts. There is also the possibility of meetups in various countries. She fills us in, "The practice of ghadi modane has seen an interesting revival - this is when a new saree is worn and the fold is therefore turned by your relatives or friends, on Instagram, people send each other new Sarees to inaugurate - isn't this such a special twist to the social media conundrum. People also encourage each other, and make it exciting with hashtags like #8sareesinFebruary or #themajestyofkosa."
Seema or @Seemaskt lives in New York and if you follow her on Instagram is popular for unconventional yet comfortable drapes. She elaborates, "I only wear saris on weekends so have the freedom to truly make the saree work for my lifestyle and with my style. Since I walk a lot or take buses and subways, I prefer to drape it in a way where it is hands-free, wearing the pallu around the neck, belted, knotted and so on. Wearing it short also helps when you're on your feet all day, going up and down stairs, and when it rains or snows. The fact that I don't have access to a tailor here to get blouses made for every sari means that I have always played around with mixing and matching and pairing my saris with tees, shirts, crop tops, work blouses and sweaters. In the winters I'll wear cashmere stockings and knee-high boots under my sari and in the warmer months, I mostly pair it with sneakers or sandals. At the end of the day, the saree is an unstructured garment that allows you the opportunity to get creative, and while I am not as adventurous as a few others when it comes to innovative drapes, I do what works for me. And that I enjoy."
The beauty of this movement is that it is fairly untouched by Bollywood. Fashion in India is governed by movie stars and here the weave is the hero. What holds all the saree sakhis together is the sheer love for the craft of the weavers. Anandita explains, "We are in this community because we love Sarees and are fascinated by the beautiful weaves and art forms depicted on the Saree. We are accomplished in our respective professional fields and have enriching personal lives. For me, this is a very non-competitive and drama-free space. I am here because I like interacting with like-minded women."
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