sari | how do i drape thee? let me count the ways

November 03, 2017

words by: Bere Wangge

“Why aren’t more women wearing the sari?”

That's the question posed by Border&Fall, a digital publication and creative agency dedicated to India’s ancient, varied, thriving, layered craft and fashion community. It begs the follow-up question: Why, really? After all, sari is “perhaps the most versatile garment in the world,” as they say. “Often perceived as traditional, old fashioned and with little room to experiment,” the sari seems to be on its way to irrelevancy.

Not if Border&Fall has anything to say about it. 

Led by founder Malika Verma-Kashyap, Border&Fall has made its mission to challenge that perception by initiating a large-scale, non-profit digital archival project. Over the course of two years, Border&Fall worked with a team of filmmakers, sari experts and patrons - including Sunitha Kumar Emmart of GallerySKE and Sanjay Garg of Raw Mango.

The result is The Sari Series: An Anthology of Drape, consisting of more than 80 how-to videos and three independent films launched earlier this month.

Available at The Sari Seriesofficial website and Border&Fall's YouTube channel, the how-to videos chronicle the countless drapes. Most people, as Border&Fall notes, are only familiar with the Nivi drape. But the sari is adaptable and can be interpreted in several other ways, as the organization sets out to show:

Each draping method is devised in such a way so as to, as Border&Fall puts it, “not come across as either traditional or ‘contemporary’ (or worse: appropriated).”

The second part of the project is a series of independent films exploring the sari’s past, present and future. A companion to the how-to videos, the films were created by three talented directors, Qaushik Mukherjee (known as ‘Q’), Pooja Kaul and New York-based Bon Duke.

The films are only viewable offline for in-person screenings, but you can watch the trailers here:

The videos and films serve as a documentation of the past and “an opportunity to further develop aesthetic." Sari's up. 



Follow the Sari Series on Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr and Facebook.

Header image c/o The Sari Series.
Thumbnail image c/o Border&Fall.