Pop goes the sari

Sari collection

Designer duo Dev R Nil's saris also boast of bright colours and prints inspired by cars, sunglasses and even Che Guevara. Debarghya Bairagi, one half of the duo, points out that these saris have become popular due to the rise of occasion wear. "Today, people don't wear saris exclusively at traditional functions; they are also worn at parties," he says.

Given that saris are now seen as funky-wear, this should not come as a surprise. In fact, these experimental creations have struck a chord with the fashion-conscious youth. So while Mahmood, whose clientele mainly comprises youngsters, is known to come up with toned-down versions of these saris for the older age-group, Govind's collection is aimed at well-heeled NRIs who want to rediscover their roots. "I set out with a target group of stylish Indian women, who are based out of India and are now tracing their cultural lineage," she says.

Dogra is happy with the response his debut range has generated. "Youngsters are taken in by the fresh and colourful vibe of our saris, so much so that it's now 'cool' to wear a sari even if you are 18," he says, adding that the older age group (of 30-45 years) chose to interpret the saris as resort wear.

The underlying message, however, is clear: in its own way, the pop sari phenomenon denotes freedom in all its glory. "Ultimately, what does such a sari stand for? For me, it's about breaking free, and at the same time, staying true to our culture," says Govind.

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