P.O.V: You’re late to your best friend’s wedding because you couldn’t find an aunty to pleat your saree.
The solution? The One Minute Saree. It starts as your typical 6-9 yard saree but draping it is a zillion times easier. The front pleats and tailored waistband make it as simple as “1,2,3!” What’s more exciting is the fact that you can drape it in any way you prefer! Say goodbye to ‘Saree Draping’ tutorials on YouTube!
Sasha Revankar, CEO of this patent-pending brand, shares a bit about her small business with Brown Girl Magazine. By the end of this, you’re going to want to hold off on opening those blue cookie tins filled with pins and other sewing supplies the next time you wear a saree! (Below is a video tutorial of how easy the One Minute Saree makes it, in partnership with Miami-based lifestyle content creator Zahara Khan.)
They say ‘necessity is the mother of invention.’ I love sarees, but I rarely wore them. My last experience prior to starting One Minute Saree was several years ago. I had been to a wedding with my four and 1-year-old daughter and despite my better judgment, mustered the confidence to wear a saree. It looked beautiful, but I found myself running to the ladies’ room every 30 minutes to adjust and fix the darn thing. Two small children pulling at it from every side didn’t help. I was utterly traumatized by the experience.
Fast forward a year later, on a trip to India, a colleague experienced a similar problem when her mother-in-law insisted she wears a saree to a wedding, despite her preference for an easy-to-wear dress. Through talks with tailors, the idea to create the one minute saree came about. My first time wearing one, I was in awe — the fit was secure and it literally took less than a minute to wear. I instantly thought to myself, ‘Every woman who has ever thought of wearing a saree needs to try this!’
If you could describe your sarees in one word, what would it be?
‘Liberation’ is a great word to describe this product and our company bringing it to market to a wider audience. It really is what you feel when you wear it compared to wearing a traditional saree (at least for those of us who are not pros). It also makes it so much more accessible to people who would have never dreamt of wearing a saree.
How is it different from pre-stitched sarees?
Products had been in the market for “pre-stitched” sarees and “saree dresses,” but these sacrificed the fluid and adaptable soul of the saree. There are some you put on like skirts. We specifically wanted to pick sarees and embrace the different types of sarees.
You have such a wide array of sarees to choose from! How do you pick out your collection?
Basically, I just started with my own POV. It is a combination of what is accessible to us and what as a buyer, I’d be more interested in.
Where do you source your fabric from?
All based in India, practically all over the region; it depends on the kind of sarees.
That’s amazing! Where exactly?
We keep sarees from Kolkata, Jaipur, Chennai, and even some from Surat. Sometimes we branch out to other cities and states, again kind of depending on which kind of sarees we are looking at.
Who is your target audience?
Myself, aha. Actually, we have customers buying for their grandmas even. But, yes, our ‘target’ is primarily second-generation women, in the U.S, U.K, and even in India.
Since the brand preaches feasibility, is it one size fits all?
Nope not at all actually. While it is something made to make your life easier, you do not have to sacrifice the sizing. Currently our sarees are custom made, however each saree is adjustable to fit three different sizes, so if you wanted to lend it to a sis or if sizing changes it can be used. We have some limitations since we use real sarees for our material. We are planning on offering standard sizes and off the shelf options soon, but we will maintain the flexible sizing because sarees are clothing items that do get passed down and shared.
So, how does one go about ordering a saree from the website?
You need a couple of measurements, once you decide what saree you want. Waist to the floor, etc., something that isn’t very adjustable. Option to add-on a blouse (can customize). A standard U.S. customer (15 days). Express shipping is 3-5 days on certain sarees.
I realized you also have a “Bridesmaid” collection! What types of sarees are in that collection?
More often than not, bridesmaids opt for more neutral colors, so generally have simple, yet elegant monochrome sarees in stock for them.
How do you think “One Minute Saree” allows South Asian women to embrace their love for South Asian fashion?
I think this is also for women who aren’t actually from a South Asian background. Perhaps, someone attending their friend’s wedding or if you get married into a South Asian family and want to embrace the culture (but in a really easier way). I think that this brand is accessible to those individuals as well.
What is your favorite saree that is currently in stock on your website? And why?
Kajol Pink Georgette Sequin One Minute Saree — I love this color and the light texture of the saree, in the photoshoot we decide to go for a Gujarati-style drape which is a new option we are launching, it gives the saree a whole new dimension.
And, that’s a wrap (pun intended). If you have an event coming up right around the corner or just want to purchase sarees for keepsakes, do giveOne Minute Saree a try. You won’t be sacrificing the essence of wearing a full-length saree at the price of ditching all the safety pins!
Photo courtesy of New Jersey-based content creator Kripa Patel Joshi.
While growing up, the only complaint I had when wearing desi clothes was that the embroidery on the fabric would always end up scratching my skin. As beautiful and intricate the details were, putting on an embellished blouse meant wearing an inner or a comfortable t-shirt underneath. Fortunately now, many South Asian brands are changing the game; focusing not only on the quality and intricacy of the embroidery, but also on comfort and wearability of the blouse itself. One such small business is Khushey.
Khushey is a one-stop shop for “buttery soft” performance blouses that don’t compromise on comfort for fashion and pair just as well with any of your mom’s saris as they do with your newest lehenga. In an interview withBrown Girl Magazine, founder Neha Seelam talks more about what inspired her to launch Khushey and what the brand has to offer.
Why did you want to start a brand that specializes in South Asian/Indo-Western blouses specifically?
I wanted to specialize in blouses because blouses are really the only part of Indo-Western clothing that I found a specific ‘problem’ with — one I thought I could solve. I absolutely love everything else about our clothing — with the variety of patterns/styles/cuts available, I feel that you can easily find the perfect piece out there.
But the part of South Asian clothing that my friends and I found to be a perpetual challenge was the blouse. They’re usually gorgeous, but by the end of the day you can’t wait to take them off. Also, it’s so hard to find a fit that looks seamless and beautiful — usually the chest, underarm or sleeve just wouldn’t fit the way you want it to with the heavy material and traditional tailoring.
I wanted to start off with basic colors but in shiny/formal-looking material that I could mix and match with all the different colors and styles of South Asian clothes that I already have in my wardrobe. The goal is that the blouses can be used multiple times with different outfits, are ideal for long nights of partying, and feel great against the skin.
What’s the story behind the brand’s name, Khushey?
The English word “cushy,” which means comfortable, actually originates from the Hindi word ‘khushi’ (happiness). I thought that the origin story was very sweet and resonated with the idea of comfort and happiness I had for my label. That’s how I chose the word Khushey — slightly adjusting the spelling so I could snag the right URL!
What is your number one priority when it comes to your blouses?
Formal wear that’s actually comfortable! I would love for women to be in the moment at their celebrations, and not feel constrained, itchy, or uncomfortable in their blouse.
South Asian women! Customers, from recent graduates all the way to stylish moms, have loved the product — especially moms since they typically value comfort and movability if they have to chase down kids at events!
How do you think Khushey allows South Asian women to embrace their love for South Asian fashion?
Over the last decade, I’ve seen women repurposing crop tops from Zara and H&M as sari blouses, and while I think that’s awesome and creative, I wanted to create an option for South Asian women where every detail was oriented around recreating the perfect sari/lehenga blouse. The shine is intended to be appropriate for formal wear, the cuts were inspired by some of my favorite blouses from when I was younger that wouldn’t have bra straps showing from underneath and were versatile for saris or lehengas, and the embroidery is intended to add a desi flair.
You’ve mentioned sustainability on your website. How are your blouses sustainable?
I plan to donate five percent of profits every year to a sustainable organization. Once I get enough interest from the public, I would like to fund new product lines that use eco-friendly materials that were prohibitively expensive for me to launch with. But I am eager to incorporate recycled spandex/nylon and metal into my pieces once I can afford to!
What sort of designs do you plan on incorporating into your label in the future?
I’ve thought of so many designs that I can build on. Starting with colors; I’d like to have all of the major colors available in my basic sleeveless blouse and then create a more modest version of that blouse with a variety of basic colors as well.
I’d also love to expand the patterns and embroidery options on the blouses. I hope to create seasonal collections that enable me to tap into the vast array of style/color inspirations that South Asian wear includes.
Khushey promises to offer comfort and style, all packaged into one performance blouse that you can reuse with a variety of desi outfits. Like Neha said, ditch your Zara crop top for a design that actually complements your desi look. Make sure to keep your eyes out for her latest designs!
South Asian fashion is nearly always associated with color, glitz, and ornate designs. From embellished bridal wear, weighing as much as the bride herself, to brightly colored sarees, Indian craft and hand embroidery is hard to miss — except when it’s showing up in non-Indian clothing.
South Asian artisans, also known as ‘karigars,’ are the unnamed force behind a designer’s vision. They often reside in rural parts of the Subcontinent and have gathered skill, creativity, and knowledge over generations. During my travels this year, for the launch of my fashion brand Chaa Latte, I witnessed artisans train from as young as seven years old, mastering embroidery techniques by the time they’re in their teens. Crouched over a table in a dimly-lit room, these artisans work tirelessly to adorn yards of fabric with beautiful beads and sequins, or weave glistening gold yarn into silk and cotton with sometimes nothing more than their memory to guide the motif. Some of them have little to no education and have never stepped outside of their village. Yet, hand them thread and a needle and they are among the best embroiderers in the world.
Is Indian hand embroidery as prolific as French lace? I would argue yes, and maybe even more, but without the fame. Established brands and their collections have stood on the craft of these rural artisans for decades but have rarely given credit. Only few Western designers, such as Dries Van Noten and Isabel Marant, proudly celebrate their relationship with Indian craftspeople. Perhaps because of this nearly silent partnership, a label that says “Made in India” or “Made in Bangladesh” does not equate to beautiful, luxurious work — rather, the complete opposite. Fast fashion may be one output, but the true strength of South Asia lies in centuries of incredibly intricate, slow, and artisanal processes.
In a Times of India article, David Abraham of Abraham & Thakore — a well-regarded Indian label — eloquently says that we must recognize the fact that India is one of the very few countries left that can still produce small lot, labor intensive, highly-skilled craft and textiles.
He adds, “And that is the true luxury in a world of growing mass consumerism and an antidote to the very real threats of environmental pollution, global warming and a growing understanding that we need to buy less, pay more for fashion that is more timeless, classic and responsible.”
South Asia’s fashion identity is at a crossroads, and it’s up to designers, especially the younger generation, to build brands that showcase the luxury and painstaking craft of South Asian embroidery, weaving, and the various other hand techniques mastered over centuries. I launched my fashion brand, Chaa Latte, late last year because I believe the true beauty of South Asian fashion is in the subtle, intricate craft and this simply isn’t accessible to North Americans in a way that fits their lifestyle seamlessly. I was set on designing modern pieces for people of all backgrounds, who have a love for art in the form of fashion and have an eye for unique detail.
My first collection encompasses some of my favorite techniques and textiles from India and Bangladesh, including mirror work and silk handloom sarees. The detailing is balanced with simple silhouettes and a neutral color palette. I am now working on my second collection, which will be released in Spring/Summer of 2023.
Like me, many young designers are tapping into their unique heritage to draw inspiration and bring attention to the Western world. I had the pleasure of speaking to two fellow South Asian designers who are making a mark on the US fashion industry, while highlighting their love for South Asian craft. When asked about the role of traditional textiles and techniques in their work, Niharika of Tega Collective responds:
With each collection our designs are co-created with a specific indigenous community highlighting their traditional colors, patterns and natural symbols. Every region in the world has incredible biodiversity so we focus on championing native fibers in South Asia like Khadi (indigenous cotton) and Eri (peace) silk originating from Assam, India.
In a separate conversation with designer Sana Khan Patel, from Aara by Sana, she tells us how she was inspired to start her line:
When a family wedding took me back to my hometown of Lahore, Pakistan, after a long 18 years, I was blown away by the level of skill I saw in the gullys (streets) of Lahore. From fabric dyeing to intricate beading to the quality of tailoring, they did it all so effortlessly and with so much pride. I quickly realized that the artisans simply want to create art but unfortunately, in most cases they are overworked, underpaid and treated extremely poorly. I immediately knew that I wanted to work with and learn from these OG’s as much as I wanted to put them in a position of providing for their families.
It’s the hope that this recognition from up-and-coming brands, like Chaa Latte, will shed light into how much South Asia is truly lending to global luxury fashion and the rich history that makes these art forms unique to our countries.
The results are in — the Pantone Color for 2023 is here — and it looks like Viva Magenta will be ruling runways, the streets, and (even) your wardrobes.
Viva Magenta is a deep shade of red, and Pantone describes it:
Brave and fearless.
It’s meant to be celebratory, and joyous, and encourage experimentation. If you were thinking of toning it down a notch with your wardrobe in 2023, it’s time to think again. It can really be your time to shine in something bright and colorful!
Aprajit Toor, Arpita Mehta, and Rahul Khanna break it down for you — what to wear, how to pair, and everything in between. Their takes on the Pantone Color for 2023 are simple but they’ll help you make a bold statement anywhere you go!
Take a look at what they have to say.
Rahul Khanna of Rohit Gandhi + Rahul Khanna:
Viva Magenta is a color that suits all skin tones. It’s a color for all occasions; women and men can both wear this color with [the] right styling. Cocktail saris, jumpsuits, and reception gowns are some great options for women whereas, for men, the color has started picking up a lot lately. Men have started experimenting with their looks and we as designers have more options for men as well. Recently, we made a custom-made silk velvet fit for Ranveer Singh in the same color. Apart from your everyday clothing, Viva Magenta is also going to be the ruling shade for the upcoming wedding season.
The best way to do Viva Magenta in your everyday wardrobe is to go top to bottom in [it]. Be it in co-ord sets or a kaftan or any comfortable outfit. It’s such a bold & beautiful color that it looks the best when it’s self on self rather than teaming it up or breaking it with another color.
Viva Magenta is a very powerful and empowering color that descends from the red family. It is an animated red that encourages experimentation and self-expression without restraint; an electrifying shade [that] challenges boundaries. One can easily incorporate this color by picking a statement footwear, bag, or jewelry in Viva Magenta which can be paired with neutral or monotone colored outfits.
And there you have it — three ways you can easily take a vibrant hue and turn it into something you can wear every day. Take cues from these top designers on how to wear the Pantone Color of the year and get started! We’d love to see how you style Viva Magenta!