Last month, Google launched an exciting new project: We Wear Culture. As part of Google’s Arts & Culture platform, which aims to digitise the world’s cultural treasures, We Wear Culture is a searchable archive of over 3,000 years of world fashion. It is many things: a database of over 30,000 individual fashion pieces, a collection of curated online ‘exhibitions’, and an innovative collaboration between museums, institutions, bloggers and publications.
One of the collaborators for We Wear Culture is Border&Fall, a digital publication that explores the intersection of fashion and craft in contemporary India. They have made an exciting contribution to the project with The Sari Series: An Anthology of Drape, which documents the regional sari drapes of India through film. The film celebrates the sari – not as a traditional, old-fashioned costume but as a living, breathing garment that is both adaptable and relevant. While there are over a hundred different ways to drape a sari, very few people are aware of more than a couple – the Nivi drape being almost ubiquitous. According to Border&Fall, this perpetuates the impression that the sari is constrained by strict tradition, rather than being a versatile garment with which the wearer can experiment.
The Sari Series, which is the first ever digital library of sari drapes, celebrates the genius of the sari. It is a non-profit project, which was funded largely by Good Earth and a Kickstarter campaign, and the film will be freely available to watch in the autumn of this year. In the meantime, Border&Fall have released a selection of beautiful images of saris featured in the film, which can be viewed on the We Wear Culture archive.
For more information about The Sari Series, read Skye Arundhati Thomas' article in the Chakra issue.