Saris find their own identity in the Western World

India is a country with immense diversity. Cultures, food, religions, languages, all jostle for their own space and identity in this country. The one thing that every person here shares in common with the other is the traditional dress- the Saree. It is the traditional attire and every woman wears it whether she lives in the city or village. Even the sari is different in its uniqueness because, though it may be a simple 6-9 yard piece of fabric, it can be draped in so many different ways, giving each drape a style, reminiscent of the region it originates from. The grace and sensuousness that it lends a woman is unmatched. It is favored apparel with most women, especially for festivals and marriages.

Its popularity in India is without doubt. But in recent times, the Benarasi sari and other traditioanal weaves has seen an awakening of sorts with people from the Western world too. With the world becoming a smaller place, people are moving to different countries to earn a living. And when they go abroad they inadvertently take a part of their culture and traditions with them. The sari stands testimony to this fact. The saree has moved from being a national dress to being an international fashion statement.

Banarasi Silk with Katarawah Jaal with Zari Pallu & border saree
Banarasi Silk with Katarawah Jaal with Zari Pallu & border saree

Indians abroad usually wear sarees like the Benarasi sari that is rich in itself especially when its festival time or during a traditional community get-together, and therefore there is a demand for sarees there. This intricate drape has roused the curiosity of people there and now many women who have never seen a saree before have learnt to don this free flowing apparel with as much élan as an Indian woman.

Dress designers, today, design sari drapes keeping the western woman in mind, and she is spoilt for choice where fabric and designs are concerned. Even the Benerasi sari has enjoyed its transformation of sorts. Instead of motifs and paisleys embroidered on them, you also find traditional zari work with heavy brocade and pallus that depict the temples of Indian culture and lots more.

The heavy brocaded Benerasi sari has found favor with many noted personalities like Angelina Jolie, Cherie Blair, Madonna, Cameron Diaz etc, etc. It is impossible to stay away from the magic and attraction of a sari and it has found a place in the wardrobe of many women in the western world.

Bollywood- the Indian film industry is also responsible for spreading the popularity of a saree among people abroad. Who can forget the enigmatic Rekha in her traditional Kanjeevaram sarees! Many Indians living abroad are fans of Indian movie stars and like to emulate them and their dress styles. Indian actresses like Aishwarya Rai Bachachan and Deepika Padukone have always flaunted heavily brocaded silk sarees.

Therefore the saree has got its due recognition even among the younger generation Indians who are not emotionally connected to India and are western in their way of thinking and dress styles. Today you will notice that many people, who come to visit India, do not leave the country without taking a piece of India with them- the Sari!

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