As we navigate the complexities of assertive feminism, clothes and our sense of fashion have become vibrant tools to voice our views and break gender stereotypes. Women’s fashion in India is looking very different today and is shedding its misogynist trappings.
Women are increasingly choosing the fabrics, styles and patterns that are good in their own eyes. As the world gears up to once again celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women across the globe, HerZindagi exclusively spoke to Arunisha Sengupta, co-founder Choli Boli, a new age women's fashion brand.
She assisted us in looking at the top trends in women’s fashion. Also, how they have become an important representation of the modern, feminine outlook that is boldly breaking away from the set norms of international fashion.
The fashion industry, and textiles, have been known to be the largest waste generators. While the world is taking strides towards sustainability, there is a lot that the fashion industry needs to do to cope up and reduce the wastage caused by fast fashion.
While the industry has to consider the source of the raw materials, water consumption, use of dyes, its manufacturing process, recycling of the textiles and even the supply chain, women consumers are getting conscious of the same and are re-evaluating. Not just their fashion choices but also their buying patterns. Traditionally, Indian women have learnt the art of recycling from their mothers and grandmothers. But abrogating the same mindfulness in their fashion wear has to still become mainstream.
This focuses primarily on the use of organic fabrics like cotton and recycled materials. There is a nice, comfortable, worn-out look to the garments that have a timeless appeal. The fabrics are breathable and the styles and cuts are simple so that these can be used for everyday wear, without the need to change in terms of styles, for a longer period of time.
Imagine wearing an old tussar silk that is 60/70 years old or more, from one of your grandmother’s closet. You would like to deep dive into its comfortable feel. Once again, we Indian women are used to this, having said, these silks and organic cotton are brought out once in a while and sarees like those have stood the test of time. Yet there is an increasing adaptation to alternative apparels in western styles of clothing.
Gender Neutral Fashion
While women have been far more accommodating in this case, men have been rather foreboding in trying out women’s fashion. But “unisex” seems to be the fashion industry’s buzz word. Inclusion and diversity is now mainstream and the Gen Z is fast adapting to it.
But traditionally, India practised general neutral fashion for years! For centuries, our ancestors, both men and women, wore the dhoti and the anga vastram, without having to fret much on gender inclusivity. It was primarily the western fashion norms that had set the trend on gender expression and determination. But those days are gone and the Gen Z men and women are fast adopting genderless or fluid fashion.
Fashion inspired by indigenous cultures are sacred. The world has today, appropriated many indigenous weaves, patterns and even cuts and styles (celeb-inspired bandhani print outfits), from the ancient cultures around the globe, without giving proper credit to their indigenous roots.
But there is a rising consciousness and increasing intolerance towards this trend. The indigenous culture moderators and volunteers have done a very good job at drawing the attention of the world towards a lack of acknowledgement of the indigenous cultures and their people.
India on the other hand, has kept its traditional handloom crafts alive by deploying skilled workers from the indigenous communities, giving them purposeful jobs and ensuring the traditional knowledge and craftsmanship is passed down from one generation to the next.
One thing that makes India stand apart, in the global fashion arena, is that the Indian fashion designers and overall fashion preferences are more aligned to the environment and nature. We, as a society, are inherently more conscious of regional and climate-specific fashion, art and craft, and its specific cultural place of origin.
As a result, in spite of the industrial revolutions, handlooms have bravely stood the test of time and are now back in vogue. From hand weaved textiles, to the art of handmade block prints and embroideries, all are gaining acceptance and becoming mainstream, thanks to affordability and accessibility brought about by the demands of a rising number of conscious consumers.
But revivalism in fashion seems to be making its presence felt way beyond just the sarees or the handwoven kurtas (must-have kurtas) which form the bulk of ethnic wear. It is making inroads into the global arena as well, and is set to transform contemporary wear too.
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Picture Courtesy: Pinterest