The love for sari dates back to the past. Anchored in indigenous crafts, the elegant six-yard drape, the traditional symbol of Indian femininity is also a sartorial star of our cultural history.
Today, women prefer Western attires over the sari owing to shifting lifestyles and demands of workwear. It is stereotyped as restrictive wear that prevents one from doing anything complex or adventurous. Relegated to the box of occasion wear, the sari it seemed lost much of its relevance to the dynamic and easy-to-wear T-shirt donned over a pair of jeans and the everyday dresses and kurtis.
However, there’s a new-age social media sari tribe infusing glamor and fun and reinventing the drape. Meet these social media influencers who are shaking that bias and making the sari cool on and off the ’Gram.
21-year-old Eshna Kutty from Delhi got popular when her hula hooping video got viral last year. The video saw Kutty dancing to popular Bollywood song Genda Phool as she spun a hula hoop around her body, twirling and jumping through it.
However, what made the video eye-catching was how she did it while wearing a sari. Pairing it with a sports bra and sneakers, Kutti managed to hula hoop it effortlessly.
Oorbee Roy aka Aunty Skates
“Aunty is 46 & skates in a sari! Spreading joy & positivity, it’s never too late,” reads the Instagram bio of this skater. Popularly known as Aunty Skates, Oorbee Roy’s love for gliding around on her skateboard in a sari is palpable in her videos. Roy's skateboarding videos have gained thousands of followers on social media platforms in a short span of time.
In an interview she said, “I'm so happy that there are people that see me skating, and they might think ‘well, if she can do it, I can do it, too’. That makes me so happy.”
Shital Mahajan Rane
For 35-year-old skydiver Shital Mahajan Rane, her major benchmark was pulling off her feet in a sari, when she went skydiving over the skies of Pattaya, Thailand.
She was seen diving while wearing a magenta, Nauvari (a traditional Maharashtrian drape) from a height of 13,000 ft at Thailand’s Thai Skydiving Center in Pattaya. With it she also became the first Indian to skydive in a traditional attire.
During the COVID-19 lockdown, Gouri Viravalli, a Chennai-based cyber security engineer started practising flow art and various dance forms utilizing DIY props. Today, she has gained over 80,000 followers on her social media channels.
Her popular videos include the unique sari-kuthu (Tamil folk songs) performances with Poi (a dance form that originated with the Maori tribe in New Zealand) and nunchucks (a traditional Okinawan martial arts weapon) mixing of Indian and international dance forms and weapon-based martial arts.
Gymnastics in itself is a strenuous sport to do. Parul Arora added a twist to it by mastering the art of performing various routines while wearing a sari. Videos show her pulling off cartwheels and backflips effortlessly in a sari.
A gymnast from Ambala in Haryana, Arora said in an interview, “I wanted to try something different, that's when the ‘sari idea’ came to me. In life, you need a vision, then clothes become secondary.”
(Edited by Sanhati Banerjee)