What is your first memory of sari?
I remember when I was very little, I was obsessed with the idea of dressing up as a Bengali bride. I think this is my earliest memory of a saree I owned. I would go all out and ask any adult around me to draw the white dots on my eyebrows and dress me like a bride. I find it very inappropriate today, but as a child I remember it was something I loved doing! While I wore sarees occasionally when I was growing up for special events, it wasn’t part of my daily life. I only started obsessing about it after being away from home for years studying for my degree. When I came back it was something I felt the need to wear to express myself. The second half of my twenties is when sarees became a staple in my wardrobe.
Your most expensive item of clothing or accessory?
My most expensive clothes must be those passed down to me by my mother. Whether it’s a rare Jamdani saree or a bright red Burberry coat (from the 80s) that I wore throughout my university years, I tend to cherish the clothes that make me happy. bring the most comfort and feel at home. My most expensive accessories, however, are quite the opposite. I love to accessorize with pieces further from home, almost exotic. My favorite Murano pieces from my exchange in Venice or the different styles/colors of parandas my mother gave me from pakistan since her youth. I cherish accessories that have a story attached to them of being away from home.
Favorite Indian brands you like to buy from?
I buy from several Indian brands – a mix of styles and prices, but a few that I keep coming back to; Anāash, Advait, Bhaane, Doh Tak Keh, House of Masaba, Injiri, Péro, Turn Black, The Right Sided, Rahul Mishra, Raw Mango, Torani, Misho & Olio.
How do you select a drape or style for your sarees?
The drape and style is chosen based on the type of saree and what I’m pairing it with. I might want to style a saree with a traditional blouse, which is when I drape it in the most common way. When I want to wear a saree with a shirt, I’m likely to drape it like pants or a skirt. The drape for me is usually determined by the top I pair it with and the accessories, whatever compliments the saree/blouse/jewelry is what dictates the drape or style for me.
Is there a particular craft or style that you enjoy wearing the most?
My favorite profession is Nakshi Kantha. I find it fascinating that so much can be conveyed with the type of stitch on a piece of fabric. Nakshi Kantha are usually sewn on old soft fabric, this is one of the most comfortable yet luxurious sarees in my opinion. I love that it usually tells a story or folklore, but also has the comfort of a lightweight blanket. It is generally lightweight and is perfect to wear all year round.
Art direction, styling, make-up and model: Sobia Ameen
Photographer: Vishal Chabbra
Assistant photographer: Manish Arya
Sari Draper: Shahneela Shehereen
Assistant: Tanveerul Islam
Hair: Shiva Singh Chauhan
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