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The Sari Series: A Cultural Exploration by Border & Fall


By Ushi Patel


Photo by: Chenthil Mohan


One of the most influential forms of culture and style in the world is the sari. While our core focus isn’t fashion at Bombay House, we do focus on the way culture and heritage is evolving in modern times. Here in the US and throughout my travels in Asia and Europe, saris are still worn but mainly at weddings or special events – daily wearing reserved for elderly women in the community.
Of recent, many of those women have switched to pants and comfortable kurtis – imagine my surprise the first time I saw my grandmother rocking a pair of jeans and a swanky, western-cut kurti – insert bug-eyed emoji here! She wore a sari everyday of her 80-year life, but it became cumbersome for her to drape every morning as her balance became feeble. She and the other ladies looked beautiful in everything they wore, but I wondered what would happen to the sari beyond India’s shores?
Then, we discovered Border & Fall’s Sari Series via a Google Arts & Culture feature:

“It [the sari] is versatile and adaptable to context, environment and culture, with its making directly tied to the livelihoods of millions of karigars (craftspeople). As with all the sari drapes in the past, we believe the sari must continue to adapt to reflect our current lives – in which a floor length sari with a blouse, petticoat and 15 safety pins may seem cumbersome to everyday living. The irony remains that most of the drapes do not have a petticoat, are often worn without a blouse and always without safety pins.”

The Sari Series: An Anthology of Drape is a non-profit initiative of Border & Fall under the patronage of Good Earth India (both creative icons worth following). The style, scope and imagery of Border & Fall speak for itself but what is so remarkable to me, is the coming together of designers, filmmakers, craftspeople, writers and the private sector to produce accessible media that documents and highlights a precious cultural treasure of India and its evolution globally. It’s important work, impacting many.


“Through film and photography, Border&Fall is addressing the perception shift required in two distinct ways by: 1) Creating the first digital anthology of drape, documenting over 80 how-to drapes through short film. 2) Exploring the sari’s past, present and future in 3 independent films directed by filmmakers Q, Bon Duke, and Pooja Kaul.”

The complete digital anthology will be released in the fall of 2017, and over sixty images from the series have been pre-released on We Wear Culture, by Google Arts & Culture. I highly encourage you to grab a cup of coffee or tea and take some time to explore!


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