Reshma Dhawan – Respecting the saree by trashing it

I have always loved the concept of “Trash the dress”; it is a style of photography that contrasts elegant clothing with an environment in which it is out of place. The models typically wear an elegant dress, and effectively ruin the dress in the process of a photoshoot by getting it wet, dirty or even physically destroying it.

Some people think that it is a new concept, but I disagree. To me, it is no different than the destroyed jean look, where you take an elegant “person” and juxtapose it with a garment that is destroyed – an environment that one wouldn’t typically expect to see that person in and the results are intriguing.

When you do a photoshoot where the focus is on YOU the person, you want to reveal your true spirit, unconstrained by fabric that surrounds you. You are making a statement that the real elegance is something that is YOU and it is not something that you borrow from the clothes that you are wearing.

The saree lends itself exceptionally well to this kind of photoshoot. There is an inherent elegance to the saree and compared to many wedding gowns, it is not as expensive. I have posted a few pictures on this blog before. Some bollywood movies have used the idea for a certain effect in a musical sequence, but it has not reached at a level where it is considered appropriate to “mis-treat” a saree to get that perfect shot.

A couple of years ago, a few of the photographers tried to execute the idea at Trash the saree, although they did produce some stunning images, it also left a feeling that everybody involved just couldn’t take that extra step to really “trash the saree”, Just couldn’t let the darn saree go…!

Reshma Dhawan recently sent me a few of her pictures of “trash the saree” genre.  Reshma, a graduate student in Children’s Education, is the Marketing Coordinator for Saavn the largest distributers of Bollywood music, movies and ringtones worldwide. She also models, and founded her own danced troupe known as Nach-LA. Living in Los Angeles Reshma has always been involved in the South Asian entertainment scene.

In a way she is respecting the saree by trashing it, because by choosing a saree, she is conveying that it is an elegant ensemble in her wardrobe and by trashing it she is asserting that her elegance comes not from the saree but from who she is.



Reshma is also editor of John Abraham’s official website These shots were done by by local photographer and stylist Stella Simona.

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