India has introduced the world to yoga, zero, heritage, architecture, culture, and fashion, which has evolved over 5000 years of tradition. India has long been a muse to international fashion. The sheer amount of diversity and influence that designers can draw from every region of India is immense. Western fashion is adopting elements of Indian fashion in many ways. Be it Lady Gaga flaunting a Tarun Tahiliani saree or Michelle Obama gleaming in an evening gown created by Naem Khan, Indian fashion designers are winning heart in the international arena. Malaysians are very fond of Indian food, Bollywood and fashion. Malaysia is also influenced by Indian fashion. You can see Malaysian men and women looking grand in a saree, lehenga, accessories, dhoti or kurta pajama at an Indian wedding, an office theme party, or a Diwali gala-night.
Let’s have a look at some of the fashion items of India that have become fashion buzzwords in the international runways as well.
Saree: Sarees are regarded as the quintessential Indian garment and have won hearts across the border too. This elegant garment has rocked fashion shows, red carpet events, and press conferences. The popularity of Bollywood songs in which the heroine sways her saree elegantly has caught the attention of the people.
Bindi: A bright vibrant dot right in the middle of the eyebrows has extended its reach overseas and is considered as a casual fashion accessory in the west. It has been flaunted by models on runways too. It was the most recognized moment during the Chanel Paris Fashion Show of 2012 when Karl Lagerfeld portrayed his model wearing a bindi and mang tika (a piece of jewelry) on their forehead.
Nose Ring: A nose ring is a piece of jewelry that is worn by ladies on a daily basis in some parts of India. It has globally inspired many variants and has become very popular. During the Jean Paul Gaultier Haute couture Fall/winter 2017–2018 show in Paris, models rocked the stylized versions of the ‘nath’, which was popular during the times of the Maharajas in India. It is an integral element in Bohemian fashion as well.
Indian Juttis: Juttis are widely worn in India and Pakistan. It goes well with Indian as well as western attire. While the Indian version is teamed with traditional motifs and embroidery, it has been restyled to suit western tastes in fabrics such as velvet, denim, lace, etc. It looks chic and subtle. Nowadays many leading brands like H&M, Forever21, and Zara have different patterns of such juttis.
Indian folk prints: When we talk about influence, Indian folk prints take it to another level. These are hugely popular and in-demand across the borders and there have been many variations or fusion to fit the western palette. Block print, batik, Madhubani, chanderi, and other prints have been fused with bright hues to create stylish or trendy apparel. The big floral pheran prints from Kashmir and contemporary designs are also quite popular. The phulkari fabric from Punjab and cashmere from Kashmir are used to make beautiful and fashionable stoles or shawls worn by many foreigners and international celebrities. Not only with apparel but they have also experimented with these prints on handbags, clutches, shoes, and other accessories. Traditionally, Indian costumes use fabrics such as silk and cotton that are made from natural sources. Fashion is more about comfort than style or appearance. Sarees, dhotis, and heavy lehengas are also woven with cotton and silk. Nylon and polyester have impacts on the microbial ecosystem of the planet. We need to boost India’s handwoven fabric.
Indian design and fashion are leaving their footprints on the international platform. The Indian retail industry with the demand for value fashion products is witnessing a boom. The tide has definitely turned.