S writes – “Master weavers did pick up this technology…true, it was more for furnishing products, especially when markets opened out….but I again come back to narayanpet, where master weavers have framelooms, and are making sareees on it. It does have a clear product identity (unlike a more universal fursnishing fabric), but I think what matters is the existence of a market niche or demand which drives entrepreneurs to exploit the potential (of higher productivity) in frameloom technology. But if we go back in time to consider its introduction, then it was definitely an agenda of modernization and not market demand.”
Okay – so here I am a (not seasoned and quite ruptured and awkward) consumer of saris.. a consumer of fabric…
asking if the apparel shapes me or I shape the apparel?
if I wear a sari – where must I loose weight? if I wear jeans where must I loose weight?
Did the loom make the sari or the sari make the loom?
what kinds of looms allowed what kinds of saris (we know that as they exist looms are structured around the sari concept so it is difficult to adjust them to work with fabric for other garments etc)
how did the loom shape fashion and convention
and how does our distance from the loom in the market “freeze” notions of sari as tradition – even while it is a living shifting fashion/style practice in everyday life -
as also does bollywood and tollywood (and the fashion industry internal to India) shape the notion of the correct or chic way to wear a sari …
What I write below may make absolutely no sense – but I have to insert this in the conversation – will elaborate later:
I am designing and producing saris on an online 3d social and technologically mediated environment (called secondlife) where people buy and sell clothes etc. – I have several stalls and shops and a studio there where I make these saris and sell. However different consumers respond differently to my way of designing saris (using handloom textures bought mostly from Dastkar Andhra). Some of them have museumized the notion of sari as traditional indian wear in a very particular way – and they have developed “traditions” of what it means to design and create a sari in secondlife – so they have begun to lay down the “law” on what layers a sari must contain (and yet each of the sari sellers on secondlife makes them differently – some have bollywood style transparent flowy “fabric” others have pleats attached and so on) so when I adapt and shift the notion it is to experiment with how I can shift the fashion of sari wearing in that environment through providing a slightly different product – but also because of how I use the technologies that help produce these “saris” – such as digital imaging software, digital cameras and the actual building in secondlife after the raw “fabric” has been created offline and imported in….
Depending on who the consumer is and their prior experience with saris on secondlife I get different kinds of responses about how a “real” sari should be designed on secondlife and what sorts of practices secondlifers are used to and have come to expect in a sari.
Thus my virtual “loom” (a combination of a situated social panopticon and the digital technologies used to construct the product) shapes my particular style of sari (shall we call it “rad Zabibha pEta cheera”?;-)) – and also my offline practice and experience with sari wearing shapes the way I visualize saris – but some of the people setting the precedent for the “Tradition” of sari making may have actually never worn a sari in their life…
which version of sari is tradition and which authentic – and why
so to get back to the master weavers and niche markets – markets are formed in interaction with what the weaver can produce – that was when loom was the only technology that produced the cloth for the sari….