The Beauty of the Saree

Spotlight / Shoot Spotlight
Emily Stein
Josie Gealer Ng
Aug 13, 2019
Emily Stein is a London‑based portrait and fashion photographer who shoots with a documentary approach that brings a sense of intimacy and honesty to her subjects. She often works in collaboration with her filmmaker sister, Alice Stein, to create short films that complement her stories.

Earlier in the year while we were discussing her work, Emily told me how she often admires the beautiful Saree garments worn by women in her neighborhood in London. She was keen to create a series that celebrated and explored the Saree and the women who wear it.

I was immediately drawn to the concept and could already see how she would capture it — her work always has a fresh approach to color and a celebratory tone.  We talked through the idea over the next month and decided to cast a range of multi‑generational women for this series to show how women of all ages shaped the garment in different ways. As Anju, one of the women photographed in the shoot pointed out: "The Saree is for everyone; they are all‑inclusive garments. Although it’s the same five‑meter piece of cloth, it can be worn in many different ways to represent who you are.”

Emily enlisted her friend, stylist Janine Eveson, to style the shoot in collaboration with the women and worked to create a fresh and fun approach experimenting with bold patterns and textures. Emily and Alice also interviewed the women cast within the series on what the Saree represents to them personally, its history and how it feels to wear this garment in 2019, some of which you can hear in the film.

In the age of inclusivity, the Saree feels like the perfect garment for celebrating all shapes, sizes, and ages in beautiful and unique ways.
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