The import of the number 73' with respect to India's independence is not to be taken lightly. The country has made immense progress in various fields and Indian fashion has evolved at a rapid pace.
INFLUENCE OF POPULAR MEDIA
Earlier, films were our only source of fashion inspiration. The impact of artists Madhubala, Sadhana, Dilip Kumar, Dev Anand, and others from The Golden Age of Indian cinema dictated fashion choices. Protagonists from movies like Mughal-e-Azam, Hare Rama Hare Krishna, and later Rangeela, Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, Cocktail and more, television and royalty (Maharani Gayatri Devi, Princess Sudhira of Cooch Behar) became inspirational icons. Later, fashion magazines provided insights to Indians through an international lens. Now, actors' styles and their weddings (Deepika Padukone, Priyanka Chopra Jonas) heavily influence fashion.
There was also an ingress of designers merging global influences with Indian craft, one of the earliest names being textile revivalist Ritu Kumar. Says Kumar, "One of my most important achievements was to take forgotten Indian textile crafts out of oblivion, researching them and bringing India to the fore."
Notable designers such as Rohit Bal, Tarun Tahiliani, Abu Jani-Sandeep Khosla, and others put India on the global map and influenced youngsters to select fashion as a career. Fashion Design Council of India also helped chart India's fashion curve to a peak by promoting new talent. Regular fashion weeks, apart from the ones happening in Delhi and Mumbai , are a testament to fashion's increasing influence.
Payal Singhal talks about how designers adhered to sartorial Indian roots, "India's design fraternity worked tirelessly to bring our arts in the form of weaves, fabrics and embroidery to the forefront, by making contemporary, fashionforward garments."
Over time, home-grown brands went international. Anita Dongre, who has stores in Mauritius and New York says, "I've always aimed at creating clothes for a contemporary global woman and today, the internet plays a major role in bringing the world closer"
As one of the fastest growing economies in the world, India has attracted numerous international brands over the years, with many more slated to enter.
Manu Sharma, Superdry India's business head says, "Being a dollar two trillion economy, India is one of the most critical markets for any international brand to expand its business. Our partners have been increasingly moving its sourcing from India to support the business here and are looking at India specific products to support the Indian taste."
According to a Kantar IMRB ICUBE report, the internet user base in India is likely to reach 627 million by the end of this year. With the rapid increase of Indians going digital, access to international brands has become easier, due to e-commerce portals. Narendra Kumar, creative director at Amazon Fashion says, "With the growing rise of e-commerce in India, customer shopping habits are constantly evolving. There is a willingness to experiment with the latest styles. Today, Indian consumers are experiencing an immersive shopping experience at a click. E-commerce gives customers the convenience of accessing both national and international brands, styles and designs across varying price-points."
Indian fashion has been subjected to many changes over the years, with respect to both the consumer and the mediums through which it has been showcased. That said, it has embraced these changes and in fact is evolving at a break-neck pace with no signs of slowing down.