Unfolding the Saree

June 7, 2017 2017年6月7日

Creatively concocted by Mira Malholtra of India-based design atelier Studio Kohl, Unfolding the Saree is a zine created to resemble sarees, a garment commonly worn by women in India. Traditional sarees are long cuts of fabric, averaging six meters in length and 1.5 meters in width. From the waist to the heel, sarees are designed to wrap around the wearer’s body into a skirt while the upper portion of the saree is intended to be draped over the shoulder. To complete this homage to the saree, the content of the zine is even printed on a one-meter long strip of paper that’s meant to evoke imagery of the long cut of fabric. The opposing side of the paper is printed with patterns that are commonly seen on classic sarees. To form the palm-sized zine, the paper is folded over twelve times.

《Unfolding the Saree》是由印度设计工作室Studio Kohl出版的一辑zine(独立小杂志)。它的外形是一件袖珍版本的纱丽。纱丽是印度最常见的女性传统服饰,传统的纱丽实际上就是一块长型的布料,通常长约6米,宽约1.5米,从腰部围到脚跟成筒裙状,然后再将末端下摆搭在左肩或右肩上。在印度,各个年龄层的女性都会要穿着纱丽,《Unfolding the Saree》的创作者Mira Malhotra,用一种创意有趣的方式制作了这本zine,她模仿纱丽的样式,将杂志的内容设计印刷在长约1米的长条形纸张上,并在背面印上纱丽布料的经典图案,再通过12次折叠,变成了一本手掌大小的迷你杂志。

To bring the design concept to life, Malhotra had to experiment and invest a considerable amount of time in finding the right paper. In real life, it usually requires ten folds to completely fold up a saree. Thus, to replicate how real sarees are folded, finding the right type of paper was crucial. After repeated attempts with different types of paper, Malhotra finally landed on a suitable choice: a type of recycled paper used for a locally printed newspaper. The paper is soft enough for the repeated folds that she envisioned, but also durable enough to allow dual-sided color printing. The softness of the paper coincides with her original design concept, which is to make a zine that could resemble real sarees. To complete her vision, Malhotra even custom ordered mini clothes hangers to ship with the zine.


With the flip of each page, Unfolding the Saree unravels the story of how sarees came to be. Through this zine, Malhotra wants to introduce the cultural and historical aspects of this traditional garment to a larger audience in an approachable manner. More importantly, she intends to incite discussion on the contradictory views on women who wear sarees. Malhotra explains, “The saree is a very versatile garment. It is mostly considered to be modest and decent. It’s also often considered as some sort of eternally feminine, traditional and dignified dress. Some colleges in India enforce it as a uniform so as to not ‘tempt’ haplessly hormonal young boys. But I found that funny. In Bollywood productions, which makes up a large chunk of what India watches and listens to, they use the saree as a sexy dress. And my guy friends have often referred to the saree as the ‘sexiest thing a woman can wear.’ The is exactly the Madonna-whore complex. On one end, the women is a goddess, dignified and extraordinary, almost divine, and on the other end, she is the whore, the slut, as pictured in raunchy songs where the ‘heroine’ is clad in a white wet saree, a common trope in Bollywood films.”

当你在一层层展开这本迷你杂志的时候,你也揭开了纱丽这种印度传统服饰背后的故事。借由这个作品,Malhotra希望向大家介绍纱丽这种服饰的历史文化,更重要的是,Malhotra想和读者一起探讨印度社会对于女性穿着纱丽服装的矛盾看法。Malhotra解释说:传统定义上,纱丽是一种多功能性服饰,穿着者通常典雅优美,被定义为淑女的服装,印度一些学校也要求女学生穿纱丽作为制服,因为这对青春期发育中的男孩子们来说显得最无害。而可笑的是,在流行的宝莱坞电影中,纱丽又几乎可以和性感或性诱诱惑划上等号,我身边的男性朋友也常说纱丽是女人们最性感的衣服。我很想借此作品来探索印度社会对于女性的这种圣母妓女情节(Madonna-whore complex)。” 

With a history of sexism lingering over Indian society, Malholtra’s ultimate goal for creating this zine was to help speak up on these injustices that women have faced in the country. “Even if there might be a lot of crime against women – as there always has been – at least we are standing against it. It feels hopeful.”


Unfolding the Saree is now available in the Neocha Shop in limited supply.

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Unfolding the Saree 现已于Neocha商店限量发售。



  • Year of Publication: 2016
  • Number of Pages: One unfolding sheet
  • Size: 3 × 4 × 0.5 inche
  • Print Quantity300
  • Printing Method: Silk screen
  • Price: $12 USD


  • 出版年份:2016
  • 页数:一张长型折叠纸
  • 尺寸: 10.5 × 13厘米
  • 出版数量:300
  • 印刷方式:网版印刷
  • 价格: ¥80 RMB


《Unfolding the Saree》



Website: studiokohl.com


Contributor: Ye Zi
Images Courtesy of Studio Kohl

网站: studiokohl.com
Behance: ~/studiokohl


供稿人: Ye Zi
图片由Studio Kohl提供