“A tapestry of flowing emotions,
Of women past and present.
A metaphor that joins generations through the weaves.
Yards of woven thread.
A rhapsody of tradition
Yes, A Saree.”
And the chroniclers of Sarees; the saree bloggers who are daily giving us ideas, history or new combinations to wear this age-old garment. These women are in their six-yard celebration making saree draping a form of art, a daily celebration, and giving sarees a makeover much above the western wear stride. GOGO had the opportunity to talk to four such beautiful and amazing women who are through their social media normalising or rather celebrating the art of sareeing……
Ashwini Rajmane Hulbatte is from Maharashtra but now settled in Philadelphia grew up on a filmy dose of swishing chiffon sarees. A love affair that became a necessity when she joined the teaching profession and had to wear sarees at work. But the famously known as “ashuinsarees” on gram carried her saree chronicles much after. As an expatriate in Germany and USA, she continues her saree journey often inspired by the beautiful Rekha Ji and her Kanjivarams. Though Ashwini has an inherent love for the Mysore silks.
Talking about the saree as a bond she explains how saree helped her make new connections on social media and some of them have even translated into fun meets and gatherings offline. Her saree buddies near her — Nirmala (the Sivakumar) and Navixha(_navixha) Sometimes gather to flaunt the saree bond offline as well. Talking about her saree journey Ashwini expresses how her pictures taken mostly on DSLR and phone are interestingly clicked by her husband who has always encouraged her to be her own person— be it wearing traditional garnet like saree in a western land or expression of her world view through her page and write-ups.
A thought that was resonated by Hema Pallavi as well known as Sogasari on Instagram. Hema says that her husband loves her in sarees and that’s how her gram journey started. She would get ready for her better half and as soon as she does a saree she feels aesthetically delighted. But for her saree has been a way of life.
Having grown up in a typical South Indian household where from her grandmother to her mother to everyone else around moves in sarees, Hema says she knew of no other garment. In fact, it was only after she shifted to Bangalore that she came in touch with kurtas and western outfits. A freelancer in the medical field her fascination for sarees was further accentuated by the beautiful Kshama Sharma and her deeply aesthetic account (inpursuit_life).
But sareeing is not the only theme that runs through the posts that are often expressions of her mind frame. Being a very expressive person by nature she was egged on by her father in law and after his death, her need to unload made her formulate expressions in saree and words. And even though Hema is a brand ambassador for several saree and jewellery brands Kanchivaram and the divinity of its weave remains her favourite form.
“A Kanchivaram transforms you into a goddess “!
Something that Sheethal Chandok also agreed upon. Also from Bangalore Sheethal, a businesswoman with her honest and upfront insta presence has had phenomenal growth on social media. hough her saree journey started with her invading her mother’s wardrobe where heirloom pieces shared space with rich kanjivarams and beautiful resourced of its kind weaves.
Inspired by Nisha Narayanan(nisha_narayanan) she started her journey in 2020 and her fun, punch in the face and brutally honest posts have garnered a huge fan following and resonance with a lot of people. Unabashed and cheerful she is again often encouraged by her husband and delights in the fact that she has trained everyone around her to click pictures and interesting pictures.
Talking about the sudden spurt of saree women on social media she says that many clubs and groups have a hand in it though she is part of none she is happy for the medium as it is a way to give new life to this traditional garment, promote the heritage and the weavers and often enough encouraging women to break the household mould a and express very interesting ideas through their posts. Totally and cryptically herself Sheetal rejoices in the daily triumphs of life and her saree journey.
And where Sheethal represents the dance of life Pallavi of (pallo.ki.saree) is an epitome of dance itself. Trained in kathak her graceful posts are an echo of her dance training and reverberate the ideals of elegance taught in the kathak Gharana. A mother of two, an architect by profession and a saree journalist she puts a lot of thought in her well-curated posts and pictures that are always reflective of her mindset.
Along with her work as an architect, she also volunteers for Ishanya Foundation as a mentor and has been associated with several NGOs and social enterprises. She believes in holistic living practices. Life in lockdown gave her a chance to explore her sareeing and her eclectic styling has been much appreciated.
An avid fan of cotton and linens this USA returned Pune based saree artist is in turn truly appreciative of Mamta Sharma Das (thebohobaalika) for her quirky styling and honest posts. Pallavi says that most saree bloggers are in fact breaking stereotypes through age-old inhibitions and coming forward with very nuanced posts.
In fact, sareeing is back with a bang amongst all. From young to middle-aged to old, From tik tok type reel lovers to the ones educating others in weaves, from style eloquent to simple draping normalisers, the saree arena is at a very fun stage of experimenting and normalizing and growing just like the women’s power.
ASHWINI HULBATTE: @ashu.in.sarees
HEMA PALLAVI: @sogasari
SHEETHAL CHANDOK: @mysareestori
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