Colour is deeply embedded in Indian culture, and a new project launched by Google in partnership with India’s textile craft publication Border & Fall, puts the spotlight on one incredible aspect of this. The Sari Series: An Anthology of Drape, is the first ever digital library to celebrate the sari, documenting the various regional sari drapes of India through over 80 ‘how-to-drape’ short films and three independent art films. Officially launching in the autumn of 2017, a preview of over 60 images have in the meantime been collected on Google to create a wonderful colourful journey through the traditional Indian dress.
The Sari Series is part of Google’s broader We Wear Culture project on its Arts & Culture platform. The ambitious library aims to digitise the world’s fashion cultures in a searchable archive of over 30,000 individual fashion pieces. These are arranged into various curated online exhibitions which have been the result of an innovative collaboration between museums, publications, institutions and bloggers.
For The Sari Series, the onus is on celebrating the sari as a flexible garment that’s relevant today, rather than a traditional or old-fashioned costume rooted in the past. By showcasing the hundred plus different ways to drape a sari, Border & Fall hopes to unravel the common assumption that there are only a handful of drapes – the Nivi drape being most ubiquitous. According to the publication, this has perpetuated the idea that the sari is constrained by strict tradition and their colourful catalogue of images instead argues that the sari is a versatile piece ripe for contemporary experimentation.