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Lavanya Bahuguna

Blogger-in-Chief

This Indian Woman Has Started A Saree Revolution In Australia & We’re Going To Join Her. Bye!

  • IWB Post
  •  July 9, 2017

 

Tanaya Das, when small, loved wrapping herself in her mother’s sarees and dupattas. The then tiny girl hardly needed a six-yard to look like a burrito.

A growing age and home-shift to Sydney couldn’t shrink her love for sarees. Years later, Tanaya has found herself an exciting mission – the mission to revive the saree fashion in Australia.

Read the story behind her initiative ‘Pleats n Pallu’ in her own words.

On a train from Amsterdam to Paris wrapped in the easy comfort of a finely woven Khadi .. As @life_in_a_saree has said, “Sustainable fashion needn’t always break the bank – dusty Khaadi Bhandars carry fab fabrics”. * * * * #sareenotsorry #sarinotsorry #khadi #makeinindia #cottoniscool #sareelove #pleatsnpallu #reclaimthesaree #sareeonmovement #indiainspired #iwearhandmade #ethicalfashion #sustainablestyle #liveauthentic #bohemian #blogger #ethnictextiles #globetrotter #wanderfolk #multicultural #naturalfabrics #saree #amsterdam #paris #adventure #wanderlust #travelphoto #eurorail #summerineurope

163 Likes, 8 Comments – PleatsNPallu (@pleatsnpallu) on Instagram: “On a train from Amsterdam to Paris wrapped in the easy comfort of a finely woven Khadi .. As…”

How would you like to introduce yourself to our readers?

I am Tanaya Das, born and raised in India, now call Sydney home. I am an avid saree collector and wearer.

Almost every girl has tried wearing her mother’s saree in her childhood. Do you have a similar story?

Yes! The saree bug bit me quite early; as a child, I was tremendously fascinated by my mother. I clearly remember how I would simply stare at her while she sat in front of the dressing table to get ready. The neatly launder sarees in her cupboard smelling faintly of potpourri and naphthalene constantly beckoned to me. I remember draping them around myself imagining I was some rebellious princess, Warrior Queen or Goddess.

This happens even today. The lovely handloom silks that mum buys, the maroon lipstick she wears and the magic she creates draping the six yards around herself inspire me.

Do you get to wear her sarees?  

My mum prefers handlooms over anything else and has inimitable style; this ensures that I am constantly in need of EVERYTHING in her wardrobe. Ha-ha!

What kinds does she have?

Every kind. But I love the Taants, Jamdanis, and Balucharis that she often wears during Durga Puja.

How did the idea to start a saree-movement in Australia strike you?

I observed that there was an online pattern of pictures showing women in sarees. You know the fair, slim, tall, straight-haired model-types in typical sequined saree posing in a studio? There is no problem with those kinds of photos, but they annoyed me since they were the only variety you find when you Google the word ‘saree’ or ‘sari.’

Pleats N Pallu’s narrative is focused on celebrating all types of bodies. It is a project started in Australia to celebrate diverse women who believe that a saree is much more than just yards of fabric.

I don’t let rules on how to wear sarees restrict me, immobilise me or control my wayward instincts. I enjoy my messy pleats on my brocade silks with my oversize beanies and comfy leggings. * * * * #sareenotsorry #sarinotsorry #pleatsnpallu #notursatisavitri #unsanskari #reclaimthesaree #silks #sareelove #handcrafted #handloom #silksaree #bohemian #blogger #colourful #ethicalfashion #organicfabric #ethnictextiles #liveauthentic #browngirl #globetrotter #wanderfolk #bollywood #iwearhandmade #ethnicwear #curryscentedbitch #girlswholovetravel #stoopgarden #surryhills #sydneylife #multicultural

98 Likes, 4 Comments – PleatsNPallu (@pleatsnpallu) on Instagram: “I don’t let rules on how to wear sarees restrict me, immobilise me or control my wayward instincts….”

Did you have any ‘plan’ when you began?

My plan was simple – to celebrate people of all colors, shapes, sizes, and sexual orientations. Sarees don’t discriminate. To me, it looks like something which is a free size, unisex garment. The agenda is to tell people that saree isn’t just something one wears on special occasions and then forgets. It is a living embodiment of tens of thousands of years of culture, of resistance, it is a celebration of personhood, our strength and more importantly our imperfections.

New blog post alert: In which I wear hand block print everything and prance around pretty lanes in Sydney. Blog link in bio. * * * * #sareenotsorry #sarinotsorry #pleatsnpallu #reclaimthesaree #notursatisavitri #girlsinmessysarees #ootd #sareeoftheday #100sareepact #adventure #wanderlust #sydneylife #multicultural #jaipurblockprint #handblockprint #organiccotton #naturalfabrics #madeinindia #ethicalfashion #sustainablestyle #indiainspired #sareelove #sareeonmovement #globetrotter #ethnictextile #handcrafted #heritage #bohemian #blogger

130 Likes, 6 Comments – PleatsNPallu (@pleatsnpallu) on Instagram: “New blog post alert: In which I wear hand block print everything and prance around pretty lanes in…”

Did you get any guidance from the elderly women in your family?

My biggest inspirations throughout my saree journey have been my dida (maternal grandmother), mama (maternal uncle), and my parents. Dida and mum have traveled the world wearing beautiful sarees, and I have some pictures where dida is in a trench coat worn over the saree. This was, I think, in the late seventies in Brussels. My sister is my voice of reason, she is the one that can help me pick a gem when I get overwhelmed with the many choices. Talking about the family men, both my uncle and father have exquisite taste and a keen eye for photography.

So basically, it is all of them who guide me. I constantly look for their advice. All in all, my saree obsession is a family affair. *laughs*

Do you also collaborate with saree brands?

So far, all the sarees worn are my own, mostly vintage, given to me by family members. I haven’t really collaborated with brands till now.

A handloom silk Saree from Nalli worn with grey skinnies and merino base layer. * * * * #sareenotsorry #sarinotsorry #sareelove #pleatsnpallu #notursatisavitri #unsanskari #nalli #sareeonmovement #nofilter #wearursareeeverywhere #ethnicfabric #colourful #teal #sareeswag #thesaristory #bohemian #blogger #ootd #indianculture #indiandiaspora #sydneylife

48 Likes, 7 Comments – PleatsNPallu (@pleatsnpallu) on Instagram: “A handloom silk Saree from Nalli worn with grey skinnies and merino base layer. * * * *…”

Where do you mostly shop them from?

I like to touch and feel the sarees before I buy them. Although I buy some stuff online, I prefer roaming the dusty lanes of small towns and weaving clusters in India looking for a hole in the wall outlet and finding a saree that has been waiting for me.

Do you have a vintage saree from your grandmother?

The old Taants, Jamdanis, and Benarasis from my grandmother are my pride and joy. When life overwhelms me, I touch their soft folds to feel the centuries of strength and resistance coursing through the hand-woven threads.

Beautifully expressed! How do you introduce the concept of six-yard to your firang friends?

Exploring the stunning ‘Venice of the Provence’, Port Grimaud in the south of France..It was a chiffon #leheriya and a #chanderi saree kinda evening. * * * * #sareenotsorry #sarinotsorry #sari #sareelove #pleatsnpallu #reclaimthesaree #sareeonmovement #portgrimaud #provence #suddefrance #handblockprint #indiainspired #iwearhandmade #ethicalfashion #sustainablestyle #liveauthentic #bohemian #blogger #ethnictextiles #globetrotter #wanderfolk #multicultural #naturalfabrics #saree #liveauthentic #adventure #wanderlust #girlswholovetravel

289 Likes, 4 Comments – PleatsNPallu (@pleatsnpallu) on Instagram: “Exploring the stunning ‘Venice of the Provence’, Port Grimaud in the south of France..It was a…”

I don’t have to introduce it at all! I am always wearing a saree to work, to Christmas parties, on dates, even to grocery shopping, pubs and while traveling! To make things interesting, I wear my sarees in the most unconventional ways, especially with the things that I’ve been told are a no-no. This intrigues my friends as they like the whole idea of donning a traditional saree in many modern ways.

What has been the quirkiest experiment?

Recently, I wore a vintage Jamdani with ripped jeans, a heavy Banarasi with denim shorts, and a Kanjeevaram with a swimsuit top. So, yeah!

Here’s to pairing sarees with whatever we want, while we are up to mischief without worrying about #logkyakahenge Wearing a #vintage #bengalhandloom #taant here with jeans and a tee walking the streets of #sydney More photos taken by @vincetravelbook up on the blog (link in profile). * * * * #notursatisavitri #pleatsnpallu #benasty #strongertogether #sareelove #sareeonmovement #sarinotsorry #sareenotsorry #reclaimthebindi #taant #bengalhandloom #westbengal #kolkatta #cityofjoy #moderntraditional #handloom #iwearhandloom #ethicalfashion #liveauthentic #indiandiaspora #indiaabroad #streetstyle #ootd #blogger #sareestories

52 Likes, 8 Comments – PleatsNPallu (@pleatsnpallu) on Instagram: “Here’s to pairing sarees with whatever we want, while we are up to mischief without worrying about…”

It is actually fun to try new things along with the ‘tried and tested’ styles. For example – the mix-and-match of patterns, the unexpected accessories, the riot of colored weaves, and messy pleats. You can say that I like taking my saree beyond the ‘dos and don’ts.’

I see a lot of silk and cotton making an appearance on the page. Are you a big fan of them?

I try my best to wear natural and breathable fabrics, preferably the handcrafted ones. I am that girl who constantly looks at the tags on clothes, after all, they tell you the material composition and everything about the workmanship.

Do people send entries to get featured?

Yes, they connect to me through either Instagram or the blog page. Plus, I am constantly on a lookout to grow the tribe.

Talk about your team.

The team consists of my partner who is my photographer and me. I am obsessed with social media, so it’s me who handles the page. Also, I am my own stylist!

An ode to girls in messy Sarees, the #gunsnroses fans who wear their 6 yards with band tees. More photos by @vincetravelbook up on the blog (link in profile). * * * * #sareenotsorry #sarinotsorry #sareesofinstagram #pleatsnpallu #reclaimthesaree #notursatisavitri #girlsinmessysarees #sydney #multicultural #bengali #indiandiaspora #sareelove #indiainspired #handloom #bandhani #iwearhandmade #ethicalfashion #sustainablestyle #weavesofindia #globetrotter #wanderfolk #nomad #ethnictextiles #heritage #bohemian #blogger #colourful #textiles

127 Likes, 10 Comments – PleatsNPallu (@pleatsnpallu) on Instagram: “An ode to girls in messy Sarees, the #gunsnroses fans who wear their 6 yards with band tees. More…”

Together, we love traveling, hiking in rainforests, exploring off the beaten track and taking photos, which is why most of my saree photos are outdoors getting up to mischief.

Lastly, what’s the future plan for Pleats n Pallu?

The plan is to grow the tribe of like-minded individuals and keep celebrating the fierce individuality of everyone. Saree signifies this energy to me, and I desire others to feel it, too!

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