Clothing, they say, is a function of the environment and the lifestyle of the people staying in a place. The same holds true for India. India has had a rich culture – a culture that tried to keep its essence intact and at the same time, inculcated the best of everything that came into the land. Whenever new cultures took root in the land, by way of various kingdoms and dynasties, the people of India adapted themselves to the new styles and created something new. We see that most evident in food – biriyanis, pulaos and naans are just some of the examples.
The same holds true for clothes.
Take for example, the Aryans who came down from Central Asia to settle in the land of the Ganges. They migrated from woollen clothes and animal skin to cotton and linen fabrics keeping in line with the climate of the Gangetic plain.
Men developed clothes like pyjamas and kurtas that would help them in the agricultural work while women came up with the wonder called saree – that was gracious, whichever the colour may be, offering numerous mix and match possibilities with different colours, patterns and hues. Over time, the character of the clothes would change character as people would differentiate themselves based on their religions, regions and sometimes even tribal characteristics. Simple loin clothes would lead to royal clothes, different styles of wearing similar kinds of clothes, to adoption of international trends, to the present age where ace designers like Tarun Tahiliani, Rohit Bahl and others deconstructing the saree and fusing western elements to bring in a cosmopolitan feel to the Indian dress.
Authored by Jijo George