Himanshu Verma – The Saree Man
Sometimes, we cross paths with some exceptional individuals in our life and that changes the entire course of the way we think and react. One such priceless encounter was meeting the Saree Man of India aka Himanshu Verma at the showcase of Saree Summery at Options. The Red Earth has organized this exhibition in Ahmedabad from 23 – 24 June 2017. Ciceroni’s editorial team had an exclusive interaction with Himanshu Verma and below is the excerpt from the conversation.
At first instance, the Delhi-based art curator makes his impression as a poised and soft-spoken person but as he starts talking; one can sense the depth in his voice towards the love of the timeless Indian outfit, saree. Dressed in a simple kurta-pajama, bespectacled Himanshu shared with us that his romantic affair with saree dated back to 2006. That was also when he started working on restructuring of drapes and experimenting with vivid styles.
Reminiscing the past, the 40-year-old shared that he borrowed his first saree from his mother to wear at one of the exhibitions. During his youthful days, he used to flaunt his so-called chamiya sarees with backless blouses. As he grew older, he got inclined towards wearing handloom and preferred wearing masculine drapes. ‘Masculine’, in his words refers to heavy yet simple fabric with slim borders. A journey evolving from loud to minimalism and classy, we say!
So, what about people’s reception on a man wearing sarees with such an effortless ease? ‘I don’t really care’, said Himanshu with a sweet smile on his face. Some have been curious while others mocked at his idea of sporting beard with sarees. With an ‘it-goes-on attitude’, he continues that he needs to drape himself in a saree at least once a day. His feel good factor, you see.
Accessorizing the outfits with beautiful chaabi challas and tribal jewellery too is one of his wardrobe staples. As our conversation flows, the amicable artist tells us that he focuses primarily on small curations and tries to create a platform for independent designers. His affection for Indian textile manifests mostly in cottons, khadi and linen.
A rendezvous with this unrivalled man unlocks his feelings towards the oeuvre of village craftsmen as well. Himanshu shares that he is happy to see that weavers are now turning into entrepreneurs and letting their work speak for themselves. So far, the Saree Man has organized exhibitions in Chennai, Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Lucknow and Jaipur.
His exhibition at Options saw delectable fabrics woven into classy apparels. From naturally dyed linen by Nadiya Paar and Galang Gabaan to labels Tuni Textiles and Silk Souk, the showcase was an absolute treat for the visitors. It’s Kota, Chanderi, Kutchi, Khadi and Ilkals forms with attractive prints priced from Rs. 4,000 – 40,000 made for an alluring sight altogether.
An English Literature student, Himanshu’s heart also lies in the Hindustani music. A look at his dedicated efforts towards promoting handloom sarees feels like a brilliant poetry, preaching individuality and simplicity in its own way. An artistically driven Lord Krishna devotee, he aims to redefine the saree trend and spread love all over the nation.
PS: While we are not over this dreamy conversation yet, we leave it to you to ponder whether you would consider saree an outdated trend or rather an unexplored one! And in case, you’re interested to meet Himanshu, you can catch up with him at his ongoing exhibition at Options till 7.30 pm.