It started as a casual pact between two friends in the south Indian metropolis of Bengaluru. Entrepreneurs Ally Matthan and Anju Maudgal Kadam were lamenting their collections of unworn saris lying in the backs of their closets. Like most urban Indian women, they had veered toward more convenient clothing choices — jeans or kurtas — for comfortable daily wear or office attire.
So in their yearning to more often wear the sari — the long, flowing intricately draped ensemble that is undoubtedly the best-known example of South Asian women’s clothing — they pledged to one another to don two per week, or 100 saris a year. To track their progress, Matthan and Kadam began posting their photos with the hashtag #100SareePact on Twitter and Facebook.
Soon their friendly pact became a full-blown movement. Indian women worldwide joined them in the challenge to wear the sari more often and began posting pictures of themselves doing so on Twitter and Facebook. Matthan and Kadam encouraged the women to highlight the memories attached to each sari and began collecting them on 100sareepact.com.
According toMatthan and Kadam’s website, the primary purpose of all this isn’t to showcase how many saris one owns (saris range from heavy silk embroideries to lighter cotton fabrics), but to help women enjoy these colorful garments more often and maybe bring them back in vogue by adding the element of fun into wearing them.
“Every sari has a memory based on an occasion, emotion or relationship, when you wear a sari, you have a sari glow, like a birthday glow,” Kadam told BBC Trending. She added that the campaign is not a political statement to reclaim a way of dressing, because the sari has always been a vital part of the Indian psyche. Plus, the message is meant to be celebratory. “This little platform is an invitation to join and share the magic. Celebrate life, celebrate relationships, and celebrate your past, your heritage, your memories, your moments, and your connections through sari wearing,” the two explained on their website.
Kadam also told The Hindu, “For many of us, saris and moms go together. We remember our mothers, the special saris she used to favour, her usual attire, the aroma of her saris, the feel of the texture… Saris evoke memories, some odd, some comic, some sad but all memorable. That’s why we invited women to use the sari as a medium to tell us a story.”
Other photos uploaded to Facebook and Twitter included snippets of the women’s lives.
Matthan and Kadam have collected some of the photos that moved them most in a gallery on their website.