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Recycling and Reincarnation: the journeys of Indian saris

Norris, L; (2008) Recycling and Reincarnation: the journeys of Indian saris. Mobilities , 3 (3) 415 - 436.

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The paper addresses the consumption of recycled sari clothing by Western tourists in India. Second-hand saris are traded across north India, and re-made into new styles of clothing for the Western market by local tailors. The saris are cut up, destroying both the Indian form of the garment and the structure of patterns across its surface. These are then transformed either into copies of their own clothing or into hybrid forms favoured by backpackers travelling across Asia. It examines the potential of these decorative silk fabrics to translate images of the traveller's transience and impermanence through their own adaptability and change in form, while enabling various nuanced perceptions of belonging. It is argued that such feelings of association simultaneously work on the level of opening up an avenue for individual self-expression, for fitting in with other tourists through the creation of a specific sartorial culture, and for referencing at a distance the host culture through which they are travelling by the re-use of local aesthetics. Finally, it points to the potential for new research into the consumption of these garments in their native countries, and incorporation of such clothing into the wardrobes of travellers once they return home.

Type: Article
Title: Recycling and Reincarnation: the journeys of Indian saris
Keywords: recycling, India, tourism, souvenirs, textile, clothing, saris
UCL classification: UCL > School of Arts and Social Sciences > Faculty of Social and Historical Sciences > Anthropology
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/51503
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