The Marigold Sari #diasporaloves


This is the story of a magical sari born out of a collaboration between Hema Shroff Patel of Amba Weave, Rehwa Textiles in Maheshwar, and Adiv Pure Nature, a natural dyeing studio in Mumbai. Safe to say, this is a textile all stars sari right here. 

Hema calls this the Puja Sari, I call it the Marigold Sari, and with Diwali right around the corner- it's also the *ultimate* Diwali Sari. When Hema first told me about the story behind this sari, I knew immediately that I wanted to document it for this blog- I mean, it's the stuff that #turmericyellow dreams are made of. 

So in the early weeks of Mumbai monsoon, I had the pleasure of spending a damp afternoon with Hema Shroff Patel, the designer and founder of Amba Weave, and part of the design committee for Rehwa Society. We trekked to the Adiv Studio in Andheri, documented the process of the sari being dyed from start to finish, and then draped Hema in the golden hued cloth, and took it for a little spin to the Siddhivinayak temple where the marigolds for the dye are collected every week instead of being thrown out. Talk about coming full circle! 

Rehwa Society, is a non-profit textile foundation and weaver's cooperative, founded by Richard and Sally Holkar in Maheshwar in 1979. They're known for weaving beautiful, traditional handloom saris, with traditional Maheshwari borders. That iconic textile, coupled with Hema's design sensibility and Adiv's vibrant natural dyes, made for such a seamless collaboration. 

For me, the magic of Adiv's natural dyeing methods is their commitment to the most ingenious sourcing and the story that comes with it. Twice a week every week, they've developed a system where they pick up discarded marigolds from the Siddhivinayak Temple- the flowers that have been used by temple visitors as holy offerings, and part of the puja (act of worship)- are collected and transformed into a vibrant yellow natural dye. To me, there's so much beauty in the knowledge that the process of creating the sari itself becomes a puja, or a celebration of origins and worship and local resourcefulness. 

Especially around Diwali, women all over the India pull out "that puja sari"- the fantastically bright sari in an auspicious color of turmeric, chillies or saffron that indicates that it's truly the best time of year. To me, the marigold sari, and the process of putting together this story was a small and touching reminder of home, and of the beauty and community that can arise from creative collaborations like this one.

PS - A big thank you to Hema Masi - for being a godmother, the most graceful sari model, and such a force of nature in all things textile x design x India. Honored to be raised amidst you and the inspirational women you surround yourself with. 

PPS - The Sari Series launched today too! It's an incredible digital anthology documenting India’s regional sari drapes through short films, and a huge feat of art and textile history put together by Border and Fall! Check it out! <3

DesignSana Javeri Kadri