Re-embracing Desi Through Saree Flash Mobs and ‘ReDo Jewellery’
She’ll refurbish your old jewellery so you love it again. She’ll bring out a saree flashmob at Saket Select City mall and get half a million hits on YouTube.
Photo Credit : devditi.com,
Sapna Khandelwal is best described as a woman with a passionate need to resuscitate some of the love forgotten for traditional sarees and jewellery and the dying master craftsmanship required to produce these exquisites pieces of work form the land know for these very creations.
At her home studio she will now take jewellery that has been sitting in a client’s safe or locker for the past decade and refurbish it, redesign the piece to suit the modern afflictions her clients may have.
Sapna has been in the jewellery trade for the past 20 years. Diamond jewellery is in her blood, her family owns the Amrit group of companies that cuts and polishes diamonds for jewellers across India. “I remember sitting as a kid and counting diamonds, seeing how they are polished. Fascinating work it is.”
From a kid in Mumbai to now being a proud grandmother, Sapna has been a hardworking woman who was savvy enough to use her affluent family and acquaintance network to become a well known face and designer to the crème de la crème of Mumbai and Delhi society.
Sapna faced challenges - because she came from money. The reverse problem for most women. “I was 19 when I married. My husband was good looking so it was not a problem”, she laughed. “But I was a young child. Probably too young in this day and age. And I had a great desire to work and be independent which was almost horrific to feel for a lady of an affluent family. I would be asked, ‘why do you want to work? Aren’t we doing enough for you?’
I never enjoyed just sitting at kitty parties, so after more arguments I began designing sarees and blouses for friends and families.”
Sapna had real talent. And the arguments faded away when her designs and workmanship fetched 2500 rupees a blouse even 30 years ago. After she had reached a point where she was designing sarees for large stores like Greenways and Kalpanas, she branched into wholeselling and distributing diamonds ranging from 1 karat to 5 karat sourced from Antwerp.
Ever seen Bond Street Jeweller at Khan Market? That was the retail fine diamond jewellery shop Sapna set up to retail the precious work.
Living and breathing the dying art of Indian traditional wear while donning a pair of jeans made Sapna realize something. “Our generation learned to love sarees from our mothers, but because our daughters grew up seeing us in western casual wear, they never learned to appreciate just how much labor and mastery is required to produce the stunning 6 yards of garb or even a simple pair of jhumkis.”
So in 2015, Sapna got together with Vandana Gupta and founded Deviditi, to revive the saree, the culture surrounding it while promoting charitable projects for women and children.
Sapna and team says on the website, “Devditi is a platform to rediscover ‘The Indian Woman’ in each lady while celebrating our glorious culture through interactive and entertaining mediums…For the same, we had launched our Facebook community on the 27 April 2015 ‘IndiaSareeChallenge’ which has been receiving a tremendous response from women all over the country. The current community size of over 3500 women actively engaged through our online campaigns and is fast growing.”
The saree flash mob Devditi organized at Saket Select City even attracted Getty Images to come take notice.
From reviving the love for sarees, Sapna who has since moved Bond Street Jewellers to her home studio now works on refurbishing old pieces of traditional jewellery. I see clients come with these ancient pieces of family heirloom. Pieces of jewellery that are so rare nowadays, they want it melted and turned into something less clunky and heavy. The amount of monetary loss for most pieces is in lakhs. If you try to sell these to a jeweller the price will be bargained to at least one fifth of these genuine high grade gold jewellery - but the loss of art and tradition is immeasurable great, and that’s what we are trying to save for the future generations of Indians”
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