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Khushboo Sharma

IWB Blogger

Sabyasachi Shames Women Who Don’t Know How To Wear A Saree, But He Needs To STFU

  • IWB Post
  •  February 12, 2018

Sabyasachi Mukherjee, with his idea of the quintessential Indian bride, is hailed as the God of Indian bridal scene. Naturally, every single thing he says becomes the gospel for his followers but with great power comes great responsibility and Sabyasachi just flouted his responsibility with a careless remark on women who don’t know how to wear a saree.

The designer, at the Harvard India Conference, got so narcissistically proud of his design aesthetics, which mostly revolve around a saree or a 20kg lehenga, that he ended up saying, “I think, if you tell me that you do not know how to wear a saree, I would say shame on you. It’s a part of your culture, (you) need to stand up for it.”

Just when the contemporary generation was getting comfortable with the idea that what they wear doesn’t define them, the designer came up with the remark. Shockingly, his remark was met with a round of huge applause by the Indian students that he was addressing. I am really intrigued to know how many of them can really drape a saree on their own but that’s not the point. My concern rests in the question that till when will we keep imposing our ideas of right and wrong and our choices on others, especially women, in the name of preservation of culture?

But he didn’t stop at that remark. He added, “Women and men are trying very hard to be something that they are not. Your clothing should be a part of who you are and connect you to your roots,” he added. What if wearing a saree is not a part of who I am? He is right when he says that our clothing should be a part of who we are but he has turned a blind eye to the fact that wearing a saree or knowing how to do it is not a part of what a lot of people are.

I know you are hoping that he finally stopped there but no! He also said,”It’s easy to wear a saree. Wars have been fought in saree. Grandmothers have slept in saree and have woken up without any folds to it.” I wonder how convenient it is to inflict shame on women by quoting obsolete examples from history.

Sabyasachi recently posted a picture with a caption dictating his idea of the “most potent image of an Indian bride” on Instagram. Quite obviously the “most potent” bride was clad in an organza saree, with “Hibiscus oil in her hair” (seriously?) “mogra entwining her”, “kajal in her eyes” and of course, layers and layers of “gold adorning her body”.

Here is the post:

The most potent image of an Indian bride is perhaps that of her in her red Tissue sari. Hibiscus oil in her hair, mogra entwining her, kajal in her eyes and gold adorning her body. Featured here: Emeralds, rubies and pearls hand crafted in 22k gold from the Sabyasachi Jewelry collection. For all jewellery related queries, kindly contact #Sabyasachi #TheBarodaCollection #SabyasachiJewelry #TheWorldOfSabyasachi

36k Likes, 66 Comments – Sabyasachi Mukherjee (@sabyasachiofficial) on Instagram: “The most potent image of an Indian bride is perhaps that of her in her red Tissue sari. Hibiscus…”


I have a few questions: Hasn’t this quintessential Sabyasachi bride look already been done to death with the same chunky jewellery, a bindi and oodles of golden and red? What if I am a Muslim Bride who’d prefer her sharara or a Christian bride who’d prefer a white gown or a Sikh bride who’d prefer her salwaar-suit over a saree for my bridal look? Does that make me a less ‘potent image of an Indian bride”?

Honestly, I believe that Sabyasachi has introduced a kind of myopia to the Indian bridal scene. I can’t even tell one Sabyasachi bride from another anymore. And I’d still sanction it if the look was not worth a fortune that even both of my kidneys can’t buy. While creating his individuality in the fashion scene, Sabyasachi has systematically killed the individuality of the contemporary Indian bride. I can easily tell a Sabyasachi dress when I see one because aren’t they all the same?

Sabyasachi’s remarks reminded me of a story, the kind of stories that I am reminded of when I am angry. One of my cousins (let’s call her Mini) shared this one with me. They had gone to some aunty’s house to discuss the prospect of a marriage between Mini and the aunty’s son. The host aunty got miffed seeing Mini’s mom in a churidar and was unabashedly vocal when she asked her to visit her place in a saree next time onwards as, according to her, what my aunt wore wasn’t part of the Indian culture. I am proud of the fact that Mini and my aunt never went to their house again!

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