The Saree: Six Yards of Excellence


Ever thought of doing a cartwheel when draped in a saree! Or Workout or run or even belly-dance in a six yards fabric. The concept of doing so sounds so kinky and Quirky. Now Kalaneca makes this possible, while this humble unstitched fabric has come a long way and has seen umpteen transformations in styles of drape and going beyond a fabric meant only for the female gender, it still comes with questions of comfort to many. As the name suggests Kala– Art, Neca-Nikaah, Handloom saree brand Kalaneca founded by Lata Rao and daughters Ramya Rao and Kavea R Chavali always believes that a saree never tells you to fit in . It takes the shape of the personality you carry. caught up with the ladies behind the brand to dig deeper into their vision of wearing the six-yards fabric of excellence.

Tell us about how did your journey to love the saree begin?
We were 14 years of age when we draped our first ever handwoven saree during our tenure as NCC cadets representing Andhra at the prestigious Republic Day Parade. For the roll call ,we had to wear the saree for 30 continuous days .In fact, unknowingly we even created the pant style saree 2 decades back. Last decade, our mother started promoting weaves from Uppada. She would do it for the passion of sharing the beautiful creations of the artisans. We joined her few years back just as a hobby.The more we started working and traveling and getting to the roots of the weave, the happier we grew. Its only been 2 years when we decided to take it up as a purpose to bring forth new weaves and fashionable drape styles of handwoven sarees

What is the vision for your brand Kalaneca- Hand of Handloom?
Kalaneca is in the business celebrating the versatility of a saree. We fulfill this vision by bringing handwoven weaves of Andhra and Telangana to our customers and also drive conversations for the community. This vision led us to create our online store and also launch India’s 1st Saree Podcast- SIX YARDS & SIX QUESTIONS . We have completed 5 episodes and we have a special episode coming every week.

Who are the women you look up to when it comes to wearing a saree?
Since saree is a gender fluid fabric it is not just women, we also look up to some men who are draping a saree in their every day lives. Apart from our mother , we really love the way Mrs Vijayalakshmmi Chhabra drapes each and every saree of hers. We love Usha Uthup ji ofcourse for her magnetic personality that radiates through her beautifully draped sarees.
The SareeMan Himanshu Verma is one of the few men who we feel carries off a saree with utmost grace and panache.

Do you really believe that it’s practical to wear a saree and go to the gym, do a cartwheel, go for a run or even belly dance in a six yards fabric draped around you?
A saree never tells you to fit in, it makes you stand out. Always! Thanks to social media we are seeing sarees being draped in new styles and in new avatars, a saree was always meant to be a functional garment . Back in our small hometown Kakinada, you can see people plough fields, ride bicylces , cook food or for that matter even go to bed in a saree.
Recently, Ramya also belly danced an entire routine in a uppada silk saree to showcase the versatility of the saree. We also did a photoshoot with Model & Actor Mariette Valsan where she did a cartwheel , danced and ran in a saree. You would have also noticed Milind Soman’s mother running in a saree and doing push ups in a saree.It is highly practical . One needs to remove the block from their head that a saree is only meant for special occasions.

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What are the ideal fabrics you use to bring out the versatility in your sarees?
We love silk sarees the most. The soft texture truly lets you take any shape and drape style you give. We love how the pleats sit with silk fabric. However, cottons and linens are extremely versatile too.Some fabrics get highlighted due to different colour combinations as well.

One bollywood celebrity who does justice to wearing a saree and is an epitome of grace.
It has to be the one and only Rekhaji. She embodies the grace and aura that a saree brings to a person.Most importantly the respect she gives to the saree , it can be seen in the way she holds the pallu. In the recent times though, we have loved fashionista Sonam Kapoor draping sarees differently and Actress Taapsee Pannu experimenting her looks in a saree.

One message you would like to give our women readers on how to embrace the six yard fabric in their life. Look at it as a fabric of freedom and not a fabric of conformity. A saree is like a second skin that will take the shape of the personality you give. Also, given a choice ,wear more handwoven sarees as a powerloom saree will be easier on your pockets but difficult for your comfort. A handwoven cotton , silk saree is also more environment friendly as the fabric is natural and has no polyester or synthetic fibre.

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