Sabyasachi x H&M Remind Me Of My Nani’s Wardrobe And IDK How To Feel About It

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Sabyasachi sarees, in the brand’s new, hot collaboration with fast fashion label H&M, have a peculiar air about them that no one, including myself, can seem to place a finger on. No, the typically pricey price tag is not the baffling part. Just that, the sarees that are frontrunning the campaign look oddly similar to…

…the ones in my grandmother’s closet.

Populated with bagru print designs, the collection is Swedish chic meets 1970s Indian vintage across apparel.

Naturally, this collaboration between a luxury house and budget fashion has piqued interest on the internet ahead of its selective online and offline launch. But it’s a curious sort of interest and not everyone is on board with the medley of style designer Sabyasachi Mukherjee has attempted.

For instance, this saree. I look at this and see a slapdash assortment of something my nani would have put together on a five-year-old me from her wardrobe on a day I would have felt particularly fashionable (at least, as fashionable as a toddler is equipped to feel).

If I search hard, I’m sure I will be able to pull out an identical childhood picture of myself in a similar saree, if not in a similar saree in Morocco.

After taking in the impossibly simple, custodian look of the nani saree, the gaze flits towards the price. And the eyes pop out…

sabyasachi sarees

Image: Sabyasachi / Instagram

Sabyasachi Sarees: Straddling Between Complexly Simple And Allegedly Unethical Fashion

If I were to show my grandmother the price tag on this casual saree, I would never hear the end of ‘I can get this for cheaper.’ In fact, she has. And as goes the conversation on the internet, it appears that most desi grandmothers have. After all, this was the no-fuss, go-to fashion for the generations above us.

But as plain and straightforward as their old-school charm seems to be, these new Sabyasachi sarees have complex allegations taking cover under them.

As most of the crop from the fashion house does, this new collection is facing a barrage of attacks for its allegedly unethical stance. Multiple netizens, fashion influencers included, have called out Sabyasachi x H&M for pushing traditional weavers and handloom artists further into decline. We haven’t yet heard from H&M or Sabyasachi on this issue, hence we would need to wait to know the real story and if they are indeed giving back to the artists.

The collaboration takes further on a deeply problematic tone with people pointing out how the Swedish multinational is a repeat offender in terms of ground-level worker treatment, as per reports, with a notorious lack of proper remuneration and claims of sexual abuse in factories.

In estimation of the complete picture, it gets a little difficult to find consonance between the legacy of a garment that was the touchstone of simple living and the multilayered legacy of future fashion that is taking shape as we drape.

Views expressed are the author’s own. 

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