What a woman wishes to wear is her prerogative: Sabyasachi on saree remarks

TIL Desk Bollywood/ Renowned fashion designer Sabyasachi Mukherjee, today responded to the backlash over his comments on Indian women and the saree, saying the matter has snowballed into an unintended “gender issue.”

The designer said his remarks at the Harvard India Conference, which were in response to a query on the difficulties that women face in draping a saree, were intended to be a reflection on the “celebration of our clothing history and heritage”.

Sabyasachi told over an e-mail exchange from Boston: “What was intended to be a comment on celebration of our clothing history and heritage became a debate on feminism. This is not a gender issue. Since the question was about the saree, women were involved.

“I would take the same stand on men’s national clothing too. I have not made any statement on a woman’s choice on what she wishes to wear which is always her own prerogative.”

Talking to the Indian students gathered in Cambridge on Saturday, the celebrity designer had said, “I think, if you tell me that you do not know how to wear a saree, I would say shame on you. It’s a part of your culture, (you) need to stand up for it.”

“Women and men are trying very hard to be something that they are not. Your clothing should be a part of who you are and connect you to your roots,” he had added. In one of his comments at the event, the couturier had then, in fact, credited Indian women for keeping the saree alive, but declared that the “dhoti is dead”.

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