Colours of joy, love and pride

Thanks to Amrutha Pragasam of Rhapsodeed and a team of talented akkas who launched this colourful tribute for Pride month as an expression of solidarity. 

Published: 28th June 2022 06:26 AM  |   Last Updated: 28th June 2022 01:47 PM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

CHENNAI: The Chennai Rainbow Pride Parade 2022 on Sunday witnessed revellers from the LGBTQIA+ community dressed up in a palette of bright colours and flamboyant makeup, waving rainbow flags and handmade signs, as they proudly marched through the Langs Garden Road in Chintadripet to joyously celebrate the movement towards equality. Among the many bold costumes on display, it was a rainbow-coloured, panelled georgette sari with ruffles that stood out for its novelty. Thanks to Amrutha Pragasam of Rhapsodeed and a team of talented akkas who launched this colourful tribute for Pride month as an expression of solidarity. 

Draped in dignity
“About two weeks back, a queer friend of mine suggested that we experiment with saris, given the versatility of the garment. I liked the visual picture it instantly painted in my mind. As part of Rhapsodeed, I work with a group of akkas from underprivileged backgrounds, who operate out of a tailoring unit given to them by a convent. I explained the idea to them. They were apprehensive about having too many flashy colours in one sari as it was new to them. Then I opened up about the whole concept of why Pride month is celebrated, the meaning of different colours, and what it means to the community. They were touched by it and happily stepped up for the bigger cause. They are all small-time tailors but fast learners,” shares Chennai-based Amrutha, who holds a degree from the National Institute of Fashion Designing. 

Amrutha wanted the sari’s outlook to be fun and eclectic. Something that people can casually drape without much hassle. “People can play around and boldly experiment with the garment. While it’s like any other sari, it can be styled in many ways,” she adds. The sari has been garnering much love from the queer community and Amrutha’s team has stitched six of them and two are in the making. She has shipped some to New Delhi and Bengaluru and also accepts orders from across the globe. “The sari is entirely zero-waste. The fabric is sourced locally and based on fair trade. All the profits from the sale will go to akkas. We’re a small team with little resources, so the stitching is a slow process and will take about a week. It involves a lot of inventory which we cannot afford now. That said, the sari will be available round the year and not just for the pride month,” she assures. 

Bold experiments
The designer has also been receiving constructive feedback from the community. “The popular design is the rainbow-inspired Pride flag. However, different variations have come up through time. For instance, specific Pride flags such as the bisexual and pansexual Pride flags are available. The Pride flag colours each hold a different meaning and represent an important value of the LGBTQIA+ community. So the members suggested that I explore all possible combinations with newly added colours too. And I hope to implement it in the next collection,” she says. 

Amrutha’s year-old non-profit organisation functions as a charity thrift store and also churns out its own sustainable products. “We are inclusive and our goal is to offer sustainable help to people across all verticals. We also intend to promote thrifting and cut down on landfills. The profit from all our sales goes to a cause that we are running through the year. We are self-funded and chip in whatever ways possible to help the larger community,” she says. The saris with frills are priced at `1,800 and without frills at `1,500. It doesn’t come with a blouse. 

For details, visit Instagram @rhapsodeed or call: 8056135417


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