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Old saris, new purpose: Upcycling clothing and lives

Global entrepreneurs find fresh market for iconic Indian garment

Thanks to enterprising organizations lie Sari Knot Sari, I was a Sari, and Sari for Change, used material from the traditional Indian garment is turning up in wardrobes instead of landfills. (Nikkei montage; photos courtesy of Sari Knot Sari, I was a Sari, Sari for Change)

KUALA LUMPUR -- When Rayana Edwards started collecting old saris, she was overwhelmed by the response. "It rained saris," she says. "It was like we were solving a problem for women who had beautiful saris with no place to go. And they were now coming to us with a clear mandate to use them to empower women who were disadvantaged."

The sari is a garment consisting of 6 yards of free-flowing fabric that almost every woman of Indian origin wears -- regularly or occasionally -- collects or covets. It is worn at weddings and at parties, at work and at home. A few are considered precious heirlooms, to be passed on from mother to daughter.

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