The art of sari draping, on an app

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22 Mar 2011
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A Mumbai couple has developed the first App on how to drape a sari correctly. Say goodbye to that friend's mummy you call everytime you need to attend a shaadiFive years ago, at her wedding reception in Kolkata, Bhavna Sharma was ready to drape her own sari, unassisted. So what if the heavy pleats made her look pregnant.

Within minutes of her public appearance, she was whisked away by her mother and sister. Despite her best attempts, she had failed. Her pleats were uneven at the hem, and her toes were playing peek-a-boo.
That got her thinking. Five years later, she, along with husband Siddhartha Banerjee, is ready with The Sari, an Apple App, that teaches the user the art of, well, draping a sari.


Available for US $1.99 (Rs 89.86), The Sari comes with two tutorials. One is an audiovisual, the other, an illustrated text guide.

At the moment, it teaches the user how to drape a sari according to the popular Nivi style, but Banerjee promises future versions that will teach varied styles, provide guides on suitable accessories, and places to shop for the six-yard.

Sharma is a brand strategist and creative planner while Banerjee, an IOS (iPhone OS) developer and convergent media strategist with Jack in the Box, Mumbai. The couple was also behind the creation of MeterDown (an iPhone App for calculating rickshaw and taxi fares), one of India's most successful Apps, which has been downloaded 14,000 times since it went live in August 2010.

"There was never a 'eureka' moment," says Sharma. "A series of happenings triggered the idea. My wedding reception of course, followed by my experience in the UK where I was alone and couldn't wear a sari correctly. I found that most friends shared the same predicament."

But people weren't easily convinced. They were amused by the idea and didn't think it had potential to work. "They said an App on how to wrap a sari is too frivolous an idea," recalls Banerjee.

But slowly they found support and in four months, after spending close to Rs 1,50,000 on shooting and hiring crew for the App's video, the product is ready.

"We think it will work," says an optimistic Banerjee. The couple has already had 20 people test the App before the launch. "Their reactions have been good. Some even came up to us to say how they did not know that saris are to be draped only after wearing heels (otherwise, the toes will peep)," Banerjee adds.

Targetted mainly at NRIs and foreigners, the couple thinks the App will be popular in India too. "In our cosmopolitan cities, many women still call for their mothers or friends' mothers to help them drape a sari. Many of them also own iPhones. I don't see why it won't do well," Sharma says.
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