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The Evolution of Sarees: From Traditional to Contemporary


The word saree derives from the Sanskrit word 'Saadi', which describes a kind of cloth called Sattika. It is considered to be the culmination of a three-piece ensemble in Hindu literature. There are three components: Antriya - the lower garments; Uttariya - the veil worn over the shoulder, and Stanapatta - the chest band.

Poshak, which is a generic term for costumes, is the term used to refer to this complete ensemble. The Antaria skirt evolved into the Bhairnivasani skirt, which is known today as the Ghaghara or Lehenga. The stan patta evolved into a bodice in the 1st century, and the north became the modern dupatta or veil when worn over the head.

There are many different prints, patterns, and colors to choose from in a saree, which is a long piece of fabric made from different types of cotton. Wearing them in a particular way around the entire body. Sarees can range in length from 6 yards to 9 yards, depending on factors such as age, occasion, and climate.

Indian women wore traditional handloom sarees such as silk, cotton, ikkat, tie and dye, embroidery, and block print. Apart from these sarees, there are other types of luxurious sarees from other Indian states that women adore the most. Kanjivaram, Banarasi, Gadval, Paithani, Mysore, Bhagalpuri, Maheshwari, etc. are some of the sarees that women across the country are fond of. 

Evolution of Sarees

Indian women are always up-wearing sarees. Saree is a national outfit of the country because of its authenticity and the traditional traits it persists. As the country is transforming with time, this timeless outfit also undergoes various steps to evolve. A saree with a traditional touch has gone through a lot of consistent changes to get it a contemporary look. People generally get attracted to a great change and when it comes to their favorite ethnic attire, they would love to know the entire history.

Women in the 7th & 8th Gupta Periods, have had their bare breasts. They were not permitted to drape a complete rectangular cloth. In the Mughal period, there was clear transparency in how Hindus & Muslims ‌had a difference in their dresses. “Draping” was a technique in ancient times, where both men and women used to just drape an unstitched fabric for the sake of covering their bodies.        

Appropriate research on this versatile 6-yard fabric has been done to witness the amelioration it has gone through. In the earliest era, women were used to draping an unstitched fabric just to conceal their body parts. As soon as the cinema industry came into existence, Bollywood actresses used to wear astonishing sarees. 

Their sarees were iconic that have evolved the fashion industry in no time. Women used to admire actresses and started wearing sarees made from different fabrics. Later, when the trend started going viral, fashion designers started focusing on various styles and prints. Saree finally came into existence. 

Sarees in 1950s to 1970s 

Bollywood divas experimented with sarees that have different weave patterns, vibrant colors, saree fabrics, and quirky drapes. There were no internet facilities or mobile phones, but still, people were somehow used to designing such types of garments. 

Women instantly adopted the fashion styles of Madhubala, Nargis, Mumtaz, and more celebrities. Having less knowledge about fashion, Indian women blindly followed their style statements until they could start up their businesses. Fashion freedom is really necessary to implement because to explore various styles and drapes, you need to hop on trends. 

Sarees in 1970s to 1980s 

The 1970s and 1980s came with a huge evolution where televisions were also seen as colored. Designers started exploring bold and more vibrant colors and started unveiling more drape styles and patterns. The weavers used to weave subtle patterns to go with the trend. 

Sarees in 1990s to 2000s 

It was a time when the country started implementing various fashion elements that were used to replace those monotonous styles. Starting ‌a new decade, it was undoubtedly an era of fashion icons. It was a prestigious moment for the entire country when these divas became Miss Universe and won various medals because of their stylish outfits. 

A time when styles rejuvenated and came out even more stylish and sensuous than before. Women used to wear sarees with designer blouses to reveal broad shoulders and deep necklines. Most popular fashion designers used to create apparel according to the latest trends. 

The Modern Period  

As the world is heading towards digital platforms, women have the liberty of wearing anything that they wish to. But are we still free from that conservative zone? Well, not every one of us is allowed to shift our clothing toward western culture. Some women drape sarees even regularly. 

The designers have shifted complicated dresses into convenient styles. Unstitched fabrics have been partially attached, like that of sarees. The 6-9 yard fabric has now evolved to a specific type where you just have to wrap around a saree and tuck one edge of it in. It is that simple now.  

Saree - Its Significance

A saree symbolizes huge importance for Indian women. It depicts an authentic Indian culture that reflects a pool of traditional values. Sarees are continuously breaking all the specific fashion barriers where people say they are boring and can’t be worn to evening cocktails. 

Weavers have initiated artistic craftsmanship where Georgette, Silk, Organza, and even Cotton sarees are getting twists and turns. Types of new and modern weaving patterns are getting incorporated into the sarees to revamp the dull ethnic garment. 

A saree has been recreated in a way that even ‌foreigners incline traditional sarees. Their love towards the sarees is never ending and the way they get excited seeing Indian women wearing sarees is beyond phenomenal. 

Sarees remind us of keeping our culture alive no matter how many evolutions it witnesses. New beginnings are always filled with blessings and Indian women wearing sarees are considered to be the symbol of religious and cultural values.  

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