Fashion is getting better and new day by day. Indian fashion is reshaping every day to keep up the pace and is one of the prevailing fashion industries in the world right now. Indian Fashion is not any more about hiding the real you, it’s all about bringing out the real you in you. Today’s India is bold enough to shout out what they think, what they do, and what they believe through fashion. The last few decades have been very challenging for the Indian fashion world. India is all about its culture, ethnicity, heritage, elegance and traditions. India is often known as the Country of Goddesses but the irony is that women in India are deprived of their freedom. The evolution of fashion in India was successfully able to break this stereotype to an extent. It helped women to put themselves out there in the world. According to the Indian Brand Equity Foundation (IBEF) report, India is in the second position in textile export all around the world. The history of Indian fashion dates back to the starting of human civilization. Indian fashion has changed drastically through the decades.
Fashion In Ancient India
In ancient India, clothes defined the cast of a person. There was a separate style of clothing for people from different castes. The upper caste style of clothes was prohibited to the lower caste people. Jewellery represented the fashion of ancient India. Both women and men used large necklaces, earrings, and bangles. Cotton was the main choice of fabric. There are shreds of evidence from the Indus Valley and Harappan civilization indicating the usage of cotton material. Women also wore knee-length skirts.
During the Vedic period, the belt was introduced into the fashion world. People draped a one-piece cloth over the body, over the shoulder, and conveniently fastened it by a belt. Later people started stitching the clothes and the main attire of women became the Sarees to cover the whole body and a blouse to surround the upper part of the body. Dupatta, Ghagra choli, and clothes with pleats also. By the Aryan period, the saree evolved into today’s form. Saree was nine meters long and they were pleated at the front. The material of the saree and the style they wore it differed between different castes.
During the time of dynasties, different varieties of fabrics like silk, muslin, jute, linen, along with cotton showed up their colours . When the women started to work, they pulled up the saree between their legs and tucked it. This resembled a pant. The fighting women tucked in the upper part of the saree at the backside, so they felt comfortable and free. Women usually wore bright-coloured sarees except for widows who were only allowed to wear white coloured saree.
Embroidery was also introduced during these periods. Silk threads were used for embroidery. Only the upper caste wore the embroidered fabrics.
Fashion In British Era
When the British rule was started in India, our country was exposed to different varieties of cultures and traditions. Indians started to incorporate British styles into their clothing. Fusion of Indian and western clothing gave unique outputs.
Charkha was a fashion revolution in India. The handwoven material on a charkha helped Indians to avoid the usage of foreign fabrics to an extent. Khadi sarees, dhotis, kurtas, etc., were a symbol of patriotism in that period. Indians switched to a more subtle way of dressing. The freedom fighters chose simple clothes and avoided any pieces of jewellery. While some Indians struggled to keep up with the British style, some chose simple clothes.
Although the British left India in 1945 the influence of western culture completely changed the Indian attire. Along with the fashion industry, the film industry was also growing. People were highly influenced by the trends introduced by Bollywood. Bollywood would be the sole reason why Indians started to mimic the western culture among large masses.
In the 1950s, fashion was classy and formal. Common men wore dhoti and kurtas while women wore Ghagra choli. Both rural and urban people wore the same. The people in the upper class wore suits influenced by the British and women wore sarees. The puffed sleeve was quite a star in those times. Pearl and hair on buns also prevailed those times.
1960s was the colourful decade for the Indian fashion industry. Women started understanding and embracing fashion. Winged eyeliner, body-hugging kurtas, and pulled-up hairdos ruled the 60s. Churidars also came into the scenario and became a wardrobe staple.
1970s was a disco decade. The fashion of the sixties was exaggerated in this decade. Bell bottom sleeves, headbands found their way into Indian women’s wardrobe as the Bollywood actors also started wearing them. Flared pants for both men and women were also a blast in that decade. Double braid was a common hairstyle in the 70s.
1980s was the decade of wearable fashion. Anarkalis, glitter costumes, printed sarees, midi dresses with belts, Salwar sets, chiffon sarees, leather jackets and slouchy tops were also trending in the 80s. The double braids continued to show up in the 80s also. Glossy lips were a great hit in the 80s.
High waist pants found their way into young Indian hearts. Indians embraced off-shoulder tops and overalls. Knotted tops and crop tops were also trending in the 90s. Chokers and round sunglasses became a must-wear accessory. Crown styles for hair were also trending at that time. Dark lip colours took the place of glossy lips. Shimmery knee skirts were in full power during this time. Polka dots appeared to be the most loved designs. Sarees evolved their way as glamorous and convenient attire.
Fashion In 21st Century India
In the last few years, Indian fashion found its way into the global fashion world. The developments in communication take credit for the growth of the Indian fashion industry all the way to the global fashion industry. Women became the face of fashion. It is the century of bold and strong women. They stated their views publicly and started ruling the Indian fashion world. The clothing represented their character.
Today’s fashion is all about creativity to bring out the essence of an individual. People exhibit themselves with the aid of fashion. A countless number of varieties of fabrics, patterns, styling came into the scenario. Unlike older times people started to dress to feel like themselves but not to impress society. The entry of different versatile brands and unique-minded designers into the Indian fashion industry was a turning point. The Red Carpet fashion introduced a stage to showcase the ongoing fashion. Be it an award ceremony or a film premiere, the fashion designers made sure that every design made an impact. Actors like Aishwarya Rai, Priyanka Chopra, Deepika Padukone, and many others always made an impression on the International Red Carpet.
This century is also the period of come-back. Fashion of past decades keeps on popping up. Winged eyeliners, Bell bottom sleeves, crop tops, overalls, chokers, small round sunglasses, off-shoulder tops, and high waist pants all made their way back into this century. People loved the retro styles. Fashion of the 21st century embrace all body shapes, complexions, and imperfections. This century’s fashion brings out the beauty in an individual despite their looks. As fashion was growing, there was a rising in the number of fashion influencers and fashion blogging. Influencers and bloggers made it easier for people to get updates on latest and innovative fashion ideas.
Indian fashion is growing every day. Despite every major transformation in Indian fashion, the true foundation of the fashion industry of India is its culture, heritage, elegance and its traditions. Fashion is not about the shape or complexion of a person anymore. Fashion is comfort, character, opinion, views, beliefs, and strength of an individual. Fashion taught Indians to evolve, adapt, and widen their horizon. Now India also thinks through the evolving fashion.