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Queering the Saree: SareeNaSorry Funshop with Poppy Jaman

Aashna’s celebration of LGBTQIA+ Pride & South Asian Heritage Month - Spend an afternoon with Poppy Jaman and the Aashna community for Queering the Saree: A SareeNaSorry Funshop.

Sunday, November 3, 2024, 12:00 PM - 5:00 PM (UTC+01:00)
Created by: Aashna+

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SareeNaSorry Funshop


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Queering the Saree: A SareeNaSorry Funshop with Poppy Jaman - Aashna’s celebration of LGBTQIA+ Pride & South Asian Heritage Month

Have you ever wanted to drape a saree?

Spend an afternoon with Poppy Jaman and the Aashna community for Queering the Saree: A SareeNaSorry Funshop.  The Aashna Counselling & Psychotherapy Creative Team are delighted to invite you to Aashna’s celebration of LGBTQIA+ Pride & South Asian Heritage Month on Sunday, November 3, 2024, 12 - 5pm for an exploration of identity and queering through the experience of draping sarees inclusive of all gender, sexuality and relationship diversity. 


The saree is the most inclusive item of clothing in the world, it is versatile and fits every ‘body’! It's 5 to 9 metres of unstitched material which can be draped in more than 90 ways to fit any size or shape. Steeped in South Asian history, female power and identity, there is a weave, pattern, colour and style for every body and personality. The Saree is worn by people working in agriculture, art, construction, politics and at home. The Western world has categorised the saree as a ‘traditional’ costume, yet it's the daily wear of millions of people all over the world, it's normal, colourful, dynamic and a lot of fun.

Is wearing a Saree cultural appropriation if I'm not from the community?

Culture sharing is important to SareeNaSorry and there is a difference between appropriation & appreciation. Appropriation is when a person/organisation uses or sells customs such as clothes, for their own gains, without acknowledging the meaning or its roots.  Our Funshop will explore the saree and its roots, addressing the issues around cultural appropriation and exploring queer use.


The Funshop

The Funshop is first and foremost designed for us to have fun and explore identity through the saree by experimenting with styling 3 or 4 different drapes, with over 20 preloved sarees in different colours and materials for you to drape! Guided by Poppy Jaman, a British Bengali saree collector and enthusiast who has spent her life raising awareness globally on mental health and issues around gender equality we'll create space  to explore identity, queering, pride, vanity and self-limiting beliefs.

The magic unfolds as everyone will have the opportunity to get creative with their own saree-wearing styles. This is where everyone's personalities start to shine through a safe space to share experiences through fun, glamour, queerness and pride whilst sharing the love of draping in a saree.

Queering the Sari

Queer use: another way of huddling, of keeping each other warm. 

Use can correspond to intended function, but use does not necessarily correspond to an intended function. This not (not necessarily) is an opening...there is something queer about use; intentions do not exhaust possibilities...Queer uses, when things are used for purposes other than the ones for which they were intended, still reference the qualities of a thing; queer uses may linger on those qualities, rendering them all the more lively...If queer use can be about survival, followed the less well used path in order not to be detected, queer use can also be about creativity, the variations that are possible when you are not selected or rewarded for going the right way (Sara Ahmed, Queer Use).

In our continuing romance with feminist killjoy and queer scholar Sara Ahmed and Queer Phenomenology we will explore Queering The Sari. In preparation we invite participants to watch or read Ahmed’s Queer Use [YouTube - 1.5 hours] | Queer Use [Paper - brief paper] and these short queer South Asian queer blog writings:

Draping up

We'll be working in pairs to drape the saree, with our experts to guide and help you. There will be some physical contact in order to get the drape right for you and to get you looking and feeling amazing, ready for your photoshoot. Let us know if you need us to make any adaptations.

What to wear?

We recommend you wear whatever top you feel comfortable in, for example crop tops, bikini tops, blouses, t-shirts all look great with a saree! On your bottom half we suggest a skirt, or leggings / trousers (ideally something with an elasticated waistline). Take a look at the following website for inspiration:

Feel free to bring accessories and make up to dazzle in your drape.

Poppy Jaman

Poppy Jaman is a British Bengali woman who has spent her life raising awareness globally on mental health and issues around gender equality.

In her own words, Poppy shares her inspiration behind the SaraaNaSorry Funshop:

'I’ve been creating Saree soirées amongst friends from the day I started partying and even more frequently as I ‘grew up’ enough to be hosting gatherings.

I have the best memories of multi-generations of women draped in colour with stories to tell from Columbia to Australia. The saree is a vehicle that has bought to me "my people", it has made strangers dearest friends.

At the many soirées, I’ve experienced sisterhood, magic and always so much laughter.

Over the years I’ve noticed the way participants are drawn to different colours, draping styles and how they hold themselves once they have landed in the right place. How they become playful with their vanity, how confidence grows and usually some posing and dancing follows.

However, the really incredible part is how participants relax and then the stories emerge, some speak, others listen and everyone lets go a little. Everyone heals a little.

As I often say, ‘the saree to me is a big beautiful embrace, a big hug of colour and confidence.'

The £12 fee will cover the cost of workshop expenses, lunch and refreshments. Any remaining funds from Aashna events are donated to Aashna+ our social justice project offering accessible therapy to those who may otherwise struggle to access therapy.  The Social Change Nest has hosted Aashna+ via Open Collective since April 2024.

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