Meet the Saree Man of India, Who Is Trying to Reclaim the Drape’s Gender Fluidity
The saree is the most beautiful piece of garment you can drape on your body, and Himanshu Verma, AKA the Saree Man, has been wearing it for the last 12 years to reclaim its gender fluidity. He has been organising the Saree Festival every year since 2014, where he curates contemporary as well as traditional weaves. He believes the saree needs to be celebrated and his fascination grew through the course of his curatorial work on sarees.
He doesn't consider the saree to be a feminine piece of clothing. In fact, he shared a curious bit of history about the saree in a recent interview:
"I started wearing sarees as a gesture of re-appropriating the saree as a male garment and highlighting the historical traditions where it was all about the fluidity of the drape and not about the structure that was gender specific.
The saree as we know today is actually just 150 years old, and it is what is called the Thakurbari drape or the drape pioneered by the Tagore ladies. It is also associated with the Parsi Bombay ladies. Before that, the saree was worn in so many ways and the men would also wear dhotis and sarees, and in many parts of India the two terms are interchangeable. So I think saree is a generic term and it is not a garment for women specifically."
He has a love for the traditional handloom sarees and prefers wearing those over the blingy ones.
The Saree Man wants people to wear sarees more often, and we concur.