The Indian fashion scene has been rapidly changing from the 1900s helped along by the freedom struggle and later by the proliferation of the film industry. Mahatma Gandhi, the Father of India, initiated the Swadeshi movement in protest against the policies of the British. The movement envisioned boycotting of various imported items. What started then as a movement against oppression, has today turned into a style statement.
Khadi is today the de-facto fabric for politicians and has now become a part of numerous fusion experiments within the fashion industry.The versatile fabric has received another boost with visibility on account of half-sleeve starched khadikurtas worn by Shri NarendraModi, the Prime Minister of India.
When the century dawned, fashion was a preserve of the rich. Today, with the power of the Internet, there are firms that allow customisation of fabrics and manufacture clothes “to measure” (Raymonds, for example). The lower tiers usually went in for garments made at home or at the local tailor. The consciousness of the Indian identity was being formed during the 1930s and the dresses and the styles reflect the broad confusion with some clothes veering towards use of silhouettes and the broad usage of black and grey as the overlying theme. Towards the end of the decade, women’s fashion became more and more feminine in the urban areas and the body hugging suits made their appearance.
Due to western influences, use of items such as angarkhas, cholas and jamas all but disappeared replaced by the convenient achkan and sherwani. Within this space, politicians brought in their own twists, the most famous being Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru’s trademark jacket
and the Gandhi cap worn by the followers of the Congress Party. Yet, if there was any remarkable change in the offing, it was post-independence especially in the 1950s.
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Authored by Jijo George