The Evolution of Sarees: From Traditional to Modern Styles

Saree is a fashionable and humbled drape that women of the Indian subcontinent. It had been used for thousands of years. It has been an important part of culture and heritage. The versatile nature and the elegant draping style make it a timeless classic and stay connected to its root. With the variety of sarees available in the Indian market, whether handloom or modern designer art, the sarees have excelled in every way.

It is a quintessential Indian wear recognized for its glory for thousands of years. There are 100 types of sarees in India and 100 types of draping ways. Saree cannot be defined for a single region, but it has its own importance and historical journey through every part of India. Whether it is the two-piece clothing of Assam's mekhela Chadar or the full-length yard of Kanjeevaram saree in the south, every saree holds its journey and evolution. Now other sarees like linen saree and organza sarees are the ones most in fashion.

The First Idea Of The Saree

The origin of saree is dated around 5000 years old as a clothing item in history. It is not just a concern of the fashion industry but also drives historians about it.
The first fabric used to make saree was cotton cultivated in the Indian subcontinent around the 5th century BC. The history traces back to the Indus Valley civilization, where cotton weaving became the main occupation of businessmen. They use important ingredients like Indigo, lac, turmeric, etc., to produce a variety of colourful drapes for women.

Origin Of Its Name

The first word, saree, came from Sanskrit, a piece of cloth. The word was Sattika which is mentioned in the early scriptures of Jainism and Buddhism. The three-piece symbol comprised the lower garment and the veil, which we should have worn over the shoulder and head. Along with that, a chest belt is assembled in the outfit. The Buddhist and Pali literature during the 6th century mentions the full description of this Poshak beautifully.

Traditional Handloom Sarees

Women of India traditionally wore various regional handloom sarees made of fabric like silk, cotton, linen, etc. If you look at our culture and history, you can find numerous prints and embroidery like block prints, tie-dye kamal kashida, kalamkari, and many more. The unique weaving pattern motifs and prints make every saree unique in its way. One of those most important handloom sarees is available in various fabrics like cotton, linen, and silk. Banarasi saree, kanjivaram saree, paithani silk saree, and patola silk saree are some of India's unique and ancient handloom art.

Evolution of Indian Saree And Handloom Industries

The kings and royals of India have always patronised art in its unique way. Regardless of ruler and dynasty, the unique handloom art flourished beautifully, even secretly too. When foreigners invaded India, the rich women started to ask artists to get their expensive gold and stone in the exclusive saree to make them stand out. The gold thread and expensive stones were the trademarks of the royal and rich women of India.

When Britishers introduced synthetic dyes, it brought a revolution in the field of art and craft of saree making. The chemical dyes were imported by local traders who also brought the new technique of printing and dying to give the best variety of Indian saree. The development of the designs was influenced by foreign rulers, which also affected the figures, motifs, and other things of the garment.

Independence Era and Saree

During the 19th century, the saree gained transformation during British colonization. When the British introduced a Western style of clothing which gained humongous popularity among the Indian Elite but saree was the symbolic representation of our culture and heritage.

During the independence movement, many revolutionaries often wore sarees as symbols of pride and identity. The Boycott movement promoted the saree to its highest peak.

Later in the 1960s and 70s, the creative draping style and variation in designer party wear saree were embraced by Bollywood stars. Although the Kanjeevaram saree was a timeless classic in South India, North India has a love for the Banarasi saree. Maharashtrian brides and elites prefer to wear paithani silk saree, and it continues to flourish all over India with time.


Today the saree continues to evolve with creative designing and styles, but the essence of the saree remains the same. It is one of the most gracious and versatile garments which can be dressed to make any woman look pretty. It is a staple to every Indian wardrobe. Its history and evolution show the role of Indian women in preserving the cultural heritage and traditional art of India.
Buy a variety of this timeless piece of clothing to feel confident from Monamaar.