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An in-depth reflection based on the #SareeSwag hashtag

Recently, India Today published a video. They hoped to persuade the world that wearing saris to work is not such a great idea. That saris are a hassle in most situations, and the popular garment should be chosen only for occasions like weddings.

So many people shared and commented on the video, that it quickly became an Internet sensation. The tag #SareeSwag was born on Twitter and occupied people’s attention for days.

The reason these people trended the #SareeSwag hashtag was to express their thoughts, feelings and experience to prove the opposite of the magazine’s thesis. Most of them were convinced that wearing saris can be liberating, convenient, whether it be the workplace, playground or even the battlefield.

Alas, for India Today, it was perhaps one their biggest blunders recently.

We thought it would be a good idea to compile these responses for two reasons:

  • To remind ourselves that it is impossible to replace what people so strongly believe in, using a careless argument
  • To establish why sari is such a great attire to wear to almost any place on earth (and beyond!)

First, allow us to…

Get it all out of our chests

India Today has done a shoddy job with the video. The script is choppy, the arguments unfounded, acting inferior. Nothing went right with this video. We guess the reason for the video failing so miserably was, it hadn’t an ounce of truth in it, the basic ingredient in any shot at persuasion.

But it tremendously helped sari aficionados around the world unite. More on that in a bit.

The magazine should clarify what prompted them to create this video.

Did any of their readers complain about the difficulty in wearing saris? If so, how did the magazine help them?

We’re sure their own employees love to wear Kanjivarams to work. They even wear them unfailingly to all cultural celebrations in the office. Don’t they? Did the video creators bother to take their views before conceptualizing this video?

If you don't like something, it's perfectly fine. Just move on to things that you like.

You could’ve better spent the budget on promoting something you love and received more eye grabs for that. Your favorite attire would have become new favorites for millions of others overnight.

We're a diverse world and each one has their own clothing preferences. Your job as a magazine is to appreciate diversity and bring people together by increasing understanding and acceptance of each other, and thereby enabling magical cultural exchanges.

Instead, tragically, you chose to bash the stunningly beautiful saris. Unwittingly though, you ended up promoting saris through your video. We are in deep gratitude on behalf of our customers, weavers and tens of thousands sari aficionados around the world.

With that out of the way, let’s look at some facts:

Saris are worn in every part of India

Saris are worn in practically every state in India. Each state has their own weaving and draping styles, which have been evolved to suit the weather and the lifestyle of its women.

So, if office goers are complaining about the difficulty in wearing saris to work - number 1, well, their assumption is totally baseless as we will refute shortly and number 2, they should try playing with different draping styles to see what works for them.

The garment is immensely versatile and they can even invent their own draping style. The world will definitely thank them for their contribution!

Let’s look at the type of sari that’s famous in each state:

State Famous for
Tamil Nadu Kanjivaram, Arni, Thirubuvanam
Bengal Kantha saree, Jamdani
Maharashtra Paithini
Odisha Bomkal, Sambalpuri
Assam Muga
Varanasi Banarasi
Kerala Kasavu
Madhya Pradesh Chanderi
Bihar Bhagalpuri
Rajasthan Kota, Lehariya, Kalamkari, Dabu
Gujarat Bandhini, Patola
Telangana Pochampally
Lucknow Chikankari
Punjab Phulkari
Andhra Pradesh Ikat, Venkatgiri

Want to learn to drape saris in fascinating ways? Read the following articles:

Then there’s Google’s own contribution of beautifully documenting the various draping styles. What a visual treat this is!

Need more inspiration? Let’s invite you to the Sari Series. There are 83 different drape styles documented so far. Who would have imagined!

Leading the Nation and Corporate Wearing Saris

The mightiest women leaders of this country, who make the greatest impact in the global arena, choose the sari for their power dressing.

Nirmala SitharamanNirmala Sitaraman
Defense Minister of India

Sushma SwarajSushma Swaraj
Minister of External Affairs of India

Smriti IraniSmriti Irani
Minister of Information and Broadcasting

Chanda KoccharChanda Kocchar
Managing Director and CEO of ICICI Bank

Sudha MurthySudha Murthy
Chairperson of the Infosys Foundation

Arundhati BhattacharyaArundhati Bhattacharya
25th most powerful woman in the world by Forbes


In Business Today’s The Most Powerful Women in Business (2017) list, 12 of 30 leaders chose to pictured in a sari. That’s a whopping 40% who in a sense, voted for the sari.

The pattern is similar in the Forbes Most Powerful Women (2017) list as well: two out of five business leaders are seen clad in a sari. 40% again.

Isn’t that incredible?

The greatest achievers preferred the sari to grace the occasion

ISRO scientists
ISRO, Mangalyaan women

When the occasion is special, it’s the sari that the brightest minds choose. Team members of India’s pride, Mangalyaan Mars Mission, celebrating the success in the majestic sari. Don’t they all look beautiful?

Source: qz.com

Accomplishing Incredible Feats

Marathon runner in sari

Jayanthi Sampath Kumar

Jayanthi Sampath Kumar, a principal engineering manager at Microsoft, is one such example. After witnessing the mind-blowing sari weaving skills and efforts of artisans in the Kutch region of Gujarat, Jayanthi sought to do something to promote their welfare. She decided to run a full marathon wearing a 9-yard handloom sari! She completed the trail in less than five hours and entered into the Guinness Book of World Records. The madisar style draping that she chose, she claims, gave her the ultimate freedom to run freely.

Want to learn how to wear a madisar? Here’s help, in two parts. You might also enjoy the conversation.

Source: Deccan Chronicle

There’s also a celebrity runner wearing a sari – Actor Milind Roman’s mother. You might enjoy this video.

Playing table tennis

Seeing all this, one just wonders: What you CANNOT do wearing a sari!

Professionals prefer saris, too

Saris are preferred by the women we run across on a daily basis, too. Meet a few professionals who successfully don saris to work.

Adrija Sen, blogger

Adrija Sen proposed her team that five of them wear saris for five days, in an attempt to challenge themselves to do the unusual and get out of their comfort zone. They called VBSaree Challenge and got to work, ahem, wearing saris.

In her own words, "I love wearing sarees, but for some reason, unless there was a family event or some festival, I would never pick a saree to wear. So I decided that this would be a great way to challenge that, and get out of my comfort zone. Turns out, it was all in my head, because the sarees were damn freaking comfortable.”

If you need some inspiration for wearing saris to work, this article will give you the might.

Nidhi Choudhari, IAS‏

"It has always been easiest choice over other dresses thanks to comfort & elegance it carries”

 

Sumitra Selvaraj, the Instagram Celebrity

Sumithra Selvaraj

Take it from Sumitra Selvaraj who has kept it her mission to show people that it is possible to wear a saree everyday, and to try and dispel the notion, especially here in Malaysia, that the saree is only meant for special occasions. Sumitra Selvaraj has been wearing sari to work for the last 18 years. Her Instagram page inspires countless professionals to wear sari to work. She can now wear a sari in just two minutes.

Source: Rojakdaily

Long live saris

Why was there huge uproar in favour of saris?

Livelihood for lakhs of people

Tens of thousands of families – of sari weavers, traders, salespeople – in each of the above sari-weaving states support their livelihood based on the simple truth that wearing saris bring happiness.

Sari-wearers feel connected to their motherland

For many, especially those who live abroad, the threads in the saris don’t just hold together the garment, it also symbolizes the connection with their motherland. Every time they wear a sari, they feel proud and happy about their deep roots in this culturally rich land.

Who here has the right to take that away from them? In our humble and accurate opinion, no one.

Summary

Our entire business is built on the premise that women love, well can’t have enough of, wearing saris. It's this very truth and fact that sustains our business. Our customers regularly confirm that wearing silk saris brings them happiness, confidence and success.

There should be at least an ounce of truth in any creative work, lack of which would definitely affect the brand. Like it has done for India Today.

Mekhela Sador, mundu, pudavai, salwar kameez, ghagra choli - every one of these attires is utterly beautiful and fascinating. There’s no one thing that’s better than the other. We love it all and hate none.

If someone can mock a tradition that's so fond for many, they should first take efforts to understand it and its followers. If upon close examination they find worthy shortcomings they are most welcome to present their findings on a public forum. In fact, doing so will be a huge service to the rest of us who can’t dedicate time to inspect it. That’s what we expect of a magazine as widely read, celebrated and experienced as India Today.

If you’re on the fence about wearing saris to a marathon, moon or the Mars, you should definitely give it a shot, the timing is perfect now.

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