A personal pact went viral to create a movement in 2015. It was a pact between two friends Ally Matthan and Anju Maudgal Kadam to wear 100 sarees each before the year end. They encouraged their close friends and relatives to join in and post their pictures on social media using the hashtag #100sareepact.
Before they knew it, the little idea had bloomed into a gigantic revolution that inspired Indian women to unravel their untouched sarees carefully tucked in the dark of the wardrobe. Today the movement has its own dedicated website www.100sareepact.com. The #100sareepact movement has become a saree inspiration for women of all ages and sensibilities.
After the epic success of the movement, the founder Ally Matthan is now transforming the #100sareepact into The Registry of Sarees (TRS), in partnership with colleague Apoorva Sadanand and textile expert Kaushalya Satyakumar.
"The pact got women to narrate their experiences of wearing a saree. Now, we want to reach out to the larger community and create a dialogue about textiles, what the motifs represent and how textiles reflect our cultural lifestyle," said Matthan.
The enterprising trio are planning to execute TRS in three stages. The first stage aims at knowledge sharing about sarees through seminars and experiential centres at select locations like Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Gujarat, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan. Trade, culture, art and fashion aspects of the six yard fabric will be the highlights at these discussion forums.
The second aspect deals with attuning the weavers with urban fashion trends and market requirements. "We will facilitate revival of economically challenged or dead looms," said Satyakumar.
The third initiative is to be financially self reliant through TRS e-commerce website which will offer a curated collection of handwoven sarees. The sarees will be sold at a budget price of Rs. 1,500 and above. The venture is supposed to be live around April 30, 2016. "The revival of four looms costs up to Rs 50, 000. So we have to depend on online sales to expand our reach, help weavers sell in the city and conduct seminars and trails," said Satyakumar.
The initial phase of TRS operation is under collaboration with Dastkaari Haat Samiti to revive four looms each in West Bengal and Karnataka. Each centre will be producing 25 sarees a month.
On Apr 22 and 23, the weavers visited the homes in Central Bengaluru, Koramangala and Whitefield to sell directly to the customers. TRS identifies the homes of hosts where interested customers are invited for an interaction with the weavers and also to encourage direct sales. This initiative negates the cost of a commercial exhibition. TRS is also in the process of identifying host homes in major cities like Mumbai, Pune, Chennai and Kolkata. The proceeds from this initiative will be donated directly to the weavers.