For the high priests of Indian culture, the worry about globalization is not that it will breed sweatshops or child labor. It is that it will drive the sari, the gorgeous six-yards of fabric that Indian women have been wearing for the last 4,000 years, the way of the dodo, or, rather, the kimono. But as Reason Foundation Senior Analyst Shikha Dalmia points out in her latest Forbes column, this worry is misplaced. The sari is a versatile garment that has benefited from globalization:
Globalization is certainly giving Indian women options outside the sari, forcing it to share wardrobe space with cocktail dresses, evening gowns and corporate pant-suits. But it is also giving them more options within the sari. [The new saris] represent a cross-pollination of ideas, a blending of traditional and Western elements, that wouldn’t be possible without globalization. The biggest transformation is the cocktailization of the blouses worn beneath the sari that are becoming skimpier and bolder—driving traditionalists crazy. But the saris themselves are experimenting with all kinds of new fabrics and designs, sometimes with absolutely stunning results.