All About Indian Fashion
June 12, 2020
Fashion in India is an overarching dimension with a penchant for being spiffy and creates its own distinct identity. From the beginning of time, India has embraced its indigenous fabrics and craftsmanship. From Banarasi silk sarees to lehengas and salwar kameez, we have our own distinctions.
Blessed is our nation with creative designers who debunk notions that reflect on ethnic outfits being any less striking. They have worked on changing silhouettes, designs, colors, and patterns to revamp and liven up India’s fashion story.
They have a keen eye for detail and are not shy to experiment. Today, most Indian fashion is a juxtaposition of modern elements whilst not comprising the traditional Indian fabrics’ integrity.
However, each designer collection is subjective. Many western designers have also adopted our aesthetics and imbibed those in their collection. The post-liberalization period witnessed a massive growth in the fashion industry of India.
Even with rampant imports of vivid fabrics, some fabrics did not lose their sanctity. Banarasi silk sarees, linen, khadi, cotton, and several others have flourished over the years and still maintain their monopoly. India is, in fact, an exporter of these fabrics worldwide.
The period when Mahatma Gandhi encouraged the use of as part of the Swadeshi movement, has given it immense upliftment. Khadi is being held in high regard and is a symbol of self-reliant India.
The history of Indian fashion dates back many years. However, the more notable changes have occurred in the past decade or so. We are aware of the classic pieces donned from the beginning of time. Outfits like sarees, ghagra choli are still prevailing.
Their appeal has shifted to slightly modern. Many new fabrics like sequin and gold threads are appealing and liked by the masses. They present a more contemporary Indian fashion.
Many designers have birthed intricate forms of weaving that are revered worldwide. People can spot these on skirts, shirts, ghagras, and sarees. One of the very first Indian designers to have set things in motion is Ritu Kumar.
She initiated textile prints and pioneered hand block printing in the fashion domain. The traditional Bengali technique was now considered a part of “ethnic chic”. She showcased her first collection bearing Zardosi embroidery in 1973.
Dating back to Mughal times, Zardosi has its ties to the olden days. Ritu Kumar revived a lost art and renewed it with her work. Many people were now buying this style. It was a heavy sighting in weddings of that period. Around this time, NGOs and other designers started reviving old weaving, dyeing, and printing techniques.
These techniques include ikat, bandhani, patola, and shisha. Bollywood costume designers like Bhanu Athaiya experimented with costumes in Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam. The costumes in the movie were iconic and later inspired the Indian fashion industry on the whole.
As years passed, movies like Mugh-le-Azam popularised Madhubala’s purple embroidered saree which is talked about even to date. Rani Mukherjee’s Banti Aur Babli gained fame for its short Kurtis. Veer Zara for its suits and blouses and Parineeta for the same.
Costumes from Kal Ho Na Ho, Dostana, and Main Hu Na, also changed fashion. It leaned to a more compelling aesthetic. Men’s fashion was deeply affected by the works of Ranveer Singh, Shahid Kapoor, and Akshay Kumar. They manifested a unique look, as opposed to the traditional ethnic style.
The most famous Indian embroideries are:
1) Chikankari: Originated in Lucknow; Chikan employs white threads on a muslin cloth to make its designs. They are typically sheer and bear utmost elegance.
2) Gota: A small form of applique in the gold thread used to make women’s clothing in Rajasthan. They tie small pieces of ribbon onto the fabric with the edges sewn down to create extravagant designs. The most prominently sewn designs are birds, humans, and animals.
3) Zardosi: Possesses a luxurious appeal; the Mughals introduced this type of embroidery. The work is sewn in gold and silver threads. They melt the metal ingots and press them through perforated steel sheets to derive thin threads.
4) Shisha or mirrorwork: This ornamentation presents a very ethnic looking project. The embroiders sew tiny pieces of glass into the fabric.
India is embedded with venerated art that has found its way into the fashion industry. It is alive and kicking and presents the heritage of our nation. Many Hollywood celebrities have also taken a fancy to Indian clothing and donned them on several occasions.
Many designers have showcased their collections in the London Fashion Week and popularised our country’s art.