Model Rachi Chitkara

The Offbeat Sari

Design Museum, London
19 May - 17 September 2023

Using the shifting status of the sari as an analogy for the complexities of India today, the Design Museum’s showcase features the garment in surprising materials and interpretations.

Among the dozens of saris on show in this major exhibition are garments made of steel, worn by activists and fashioned by Indian craftspeople. This variety signals the fluidity of the garment – from the diverse ways the unstitched material can be draped around the body, to its status as an outfit. Variously thought of as formalwear or casual clothing, traditional or subversive, this exhibition positions the sari as the object of evolving cultural associations. 

The parallel drawn here is to the complex layers of Indian culture and society today, from younger generations pairing the ancient garment with trainers to designers using it as a canvas for creativity and innovation. The Offbeat Sari is an examination of how an outfit can be both a mode of self-expression, and the site of political protest on a wider level.

The showcase features unexpected materials, the rise of pre-draped saris and amalgam designs such as sari gowns.

IndividualTiana Clarke Please note this is an example card and not a reflection of the final product

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