The Offbeat Sari: Indian Fashion Unravelled
The Offbeat Sari will explore how the sari has become a site for design innovation, an expression of identity, a form of resistance, and a crafted object carrying layers of cultural meanings.
In recent years, the sari has been reinvented. The urban youth who previously associated the sari with dressing up can now be found wearing saris and sneakers on their commutes to work. Designers are experimenting with hybrid forms such as sari gowns and dresses, pre-draped saris and innovative materials such as steel. Wearers are embodying the sari as a vessel for dynamism rather than pageantry. Individuals are wearing the sari as an expression of resistance to social norms and activists are embodying it as an object of protest. Today, the sari manifests as a site for design innovation, an expression of identity and a crafted object carrying layers of cultural meanings. Since the exhibition will focus on the sari in urban India, the book will follow suit in terms of this remit. It will comprise a series of commissioned essays by notable Indian writers expanding on some of the themes that are central to the definition of the sari in contemporary India and pegged to objects displayed in the exhibition.
Priya Khanchandani is the head of curatorial and interpretation at the Design Museum, London.