Now, I feel honoured to be part of two cultures. In the past, I may have taken it for granted but as I’ve gotten older (maybe wiser?), I began to realise how my colour choices are influenced by my heritage. The last section to this series about the Indian culture will reflect on fashion and the beauty of colour.
Colourful is what I would describe Indian fashion. The garments are bold with intricate patterns and exquisite fabric, and many are full of colour blocking.
India has many cultures and traditions. Sikhism, Hinduism, Islam and Christianity are the main religions which people follow in India. In many parts of India, clothing depends on cultural traditions and ethnicity.
Women typically wear sarees (top and drape material around you), salwar kameez (long top with loose trousers), churidar (long top with leggings) and lehenga choli (top with a long skirt) not to wear only for daily wear but for festivals, weddings and visiting a temple as well. All garments would be paired with a flowing dupatta (a scarf). Fashion is always evolving and now it’s taken a modern approach. For example, long dresses have now become a trend.
Fabric choices are also vivid within Indian fashion. The main fabrics used are cotton, silk, satin, chiffon and velvet. The choice of fabric depends on the occasion. For example, I would wear a silk sari at a wedding and maybe a cotton churidar if I was visiting a temple. I would accessorise this with colourful bangles matching the colour of my outfit, jewellery and a bindi.
Indian fashion has its own identity.
Do I feel different when I wear Indian clothing?
I don’t, but it does remind me of my heritage.
In regards to particular colours, white is worn at funerals and women wear red on their wedding day, mainly at the temple. Nowadays, many women wear a different colourful outfit at the reception. Men wear less traditional clothing depending on the event and in many rural areas of India, a dhoti (loose long trousers) and kurta (a long top with slits on the side) and a colour turban (headgear) is still worn by many.
It has heavily influenced my choice of colours when I look at my wardrobe collection. I’m always drawn to bold and bright colours when I select Indian garments or western clothing. When I was younger (not that I’m very old now) my mum dressed me in bright colourful clothes when we attended weddings. I have to say she did a good job and I approved of her colour choices!
For my uncle’s wedding, she made me an outfit from her wedding lehenga and I recently wore one of her old 70’s style sari for a wedding but I changed the blouse. It was nice to wear something of my mum’s style but also adding my own touch to it. It made it very special indeed! She’s also very creative and good at up-cycling clothing, and a great sewer too. I love both the traditional and modern style of Indian fashion.
My mum is my go-to person about the latest Indian fashions and trends but I have definitely picked up fashion tips from my dad. When most girls say “I always shopping with my mum” – for me it’s my dad! I think that what I’m trying to say is that my parents have also played a part in exposing the colours and creativity associated within the Indian culture. My daily wear is western clothing but when I attend Indian weddings then I love to wear something completely colourful but different.
If you ever visit India one day you will see all the colourful things I have mentioned in this section and don’t worry about what to wear as fashion is always changing and it’s okay to be you!
Happy reading folks!
Neelam 🙂 X