Rent-A-Saree: It happens only in India

Gramshree introduces first-of-its-kind saree library that loans

expensive silk and heavily embroidered

Poor women can borrow these sarees not just for weddings but also birthday parties and other special occasions. Gramshree plans to collect 1,00 sarees to set up five libraries across Ahmedabad

Poor women can borrow these sarees not just for weddings but also birthday parties and other special occasions. Gramshree plans to collect 1,00 sarees to set up five libraries across Ahmedabad

Until recently, Pinku Makwana thought her childhood dream of wearing nine yards of Patola silk fabric to a social function would never materialise.

For the domestic help from Ranip in Ahmedabad, keeping a single piece of Patola sari in her wardrobe would have triggered quite a malfunction in her budget.

These saris, which display one of the world’s most complex weaving techniques, come with price tags of between Rs. 5,000 (for a plain Jane) and a deep hole in your pocket (for the intricate variety of golden brocades).

But she did make her sister-in-law burn with envy when she went to a family get-together dressed in a gorgeous Patola – courtesy of a non-government organisation that has started a rent-a-sari service.

Pinku’s dream got fulfilled for a mere Rs. 5 and the expensive sari will be hers for a week.

Of course, she has to foot the dry cleaner‘s bill before returning. But a real small price to pay. Vandana Agarwal from Gramshree in Ahmedabad started this venture after she heard many women workers in the NGO often complaining about their fate – that is wearing the same sari to all social functions.

“Most of the women working with us belong to the low-income group. They can’t afford to buy or keep more than one good sari for social occasions. They would often brood about this fact,” Vandana said.

This led Vandana to open a “sari library”. “The idea is simple. All one needs is a guarantor and Rs.5 to pick up a sari of her choice for a week,” she said.

Vandana has two “libraries” running simultaneously with roaring success in Ahmedabad – one in the Ranip area and the other in Chandlodia. Both localities were primarily inhabited by people of low-income groups.

Proposal for a third one has been on the anvil.

“We have a range of expensive saris such as the Gujarati Patolas, the South Indian Kanjivarams and other silk. Our clientele can’t afford to buy them. At present, we have more than 200 such saris, mostly collected through donations. More are pouring in,” she said.

For the donors, the idea was appealing. “I have collected so many expensive saris over the years and many of them were idling away in my cupboard,” homemaker Hetal Patel said.

“When I realised that my sari could bring so much joy to someone, I just couldn’t resist myself,” she added.

“Thanks to Vandana didi, I can wear good saris just like women from high society,” Pinku said. (courtesy: D. P. BHATTACHARYA & mailonlineindia)

A Golden year for Tamil Femina

The 1st anniversary special issue of Femina Tamil was unveiled by actress Amy Jackson, cover girl for the issue, and Tarun Rai, CEO, WWM, at a party held at Taj Coromandel, Chennai. Leading city jeweller GRT Jewellers partnered with Femina Tamil for this event, providing select pieces of jewellery from their newest collection for the anniversary issue.

Femina Tamil was launched in April 2011, taking off from the parent brand with content customised to suit the modern, progressive Tamil reader.

The anniversary issue is a special 200-page issue with the focus on Tamil Nadu. It includes a tete-a-tete with 10 most gorgeous women of South India, the fun side of Chennai explored in 24 hours, and scoops on the biggest scandals to hit Tamil Nadu in recent years.

Additionally, there is a gold pendant that is the special cover mount for the issue. There is also a contest where readers can win jewellery vouchers, sarees, holidays and other gifts.

The marketing campaign for the anniversary issue spans radio, print, Facebook and on-ground visibility through display, POS and inserts.

Tarun Rai, CEO, Worldwide Media said, “We are very happy at the response that Femina Tamil has got, both from readers as well as advertisers. It has only been twelve months and Femina Tamil has already established itself as the magazine-of-choice of the discerning and progressive Tamil woman.”

Commenting on the 1st Anniversary Issue, Tanya Chaitanya, Editor of Femina & Femina Tamil said, “It has been a year of remarkable grit, inspiring stories and women power. It has been a year of Femina Tamil. A huge thank-you to all our readers who have helped us gain an insight into their lives and who have given us a thumbs up. Here’s to a great first anniversary and many more to come.”

(courtesy: Archita Wagle &