History and Evolution of Indian Fashion Industry

History and Evolution of Indian Fashion Industry

Shubham Anil Jain
Aditya Birla Fashion and Retail Limited
Bangalore, India
Email: shubhamajain125@gmail.com


The rich cultural background, traditions, refinement, and vitality of Indian fashion are well-known. When Indians wear traditional clothing, these traits are expressed. It emphasizes the grace and subtlety that have endured for years. It has evolved over time, yet it is still more than just cosy, sophisticated, and beautiful. Indians are not immune to embracing Western and other trends as modernization sweeps the globe, but one thing is certain: no matter how far away they may dwell, Indians never lose touch with their roots.

indian fashion show

History and Evolution of Indian Fashion Industry:

1. Earlier Eras:
Early times, like the Vedic age, did not use stitched clothing. As opposed to donning whole garments, people used to tie their clothing together. Unexpectedly, although the concept of stitched clothing existed before the Indus Valley Civilization, stitched clothing did not actually appear until the Islamic era. Therefore, the dhoti and saree are still worn today unstitched traditional Indian clothing. During the Islamic era, embroidered clothes such as the burka and hijab initially made their way into Muslim homes.

2. At the time of British Raj:
When the British arrived in India, both men’s and women’s western clothes became common. In truth, the British era was incredibly confusing in terms of fashion. The growing British influence ran counter to Indian nationalism. The majority of people continued to dress traditionally, but the upper class, which had good connections with the British, was inspired by their sense of style, which swiftly rose to the level of a status symbol.

indian fashion At the time of British Raj

3. Indian Fashion: Post Independence:
Decades after the country’s independence, the economy still appeared to be suffering from colonialism’s damaging effects. Once more, fashion took a backseat to the economy as the nation continued to experience economic hardship. However, the country’s urban and educated people favored western dress, which helped to some part preserve European design. Only when the country’s stable economy and the partition came into picture then the Indian fashion industry truly begin to flourish. Inter-state trade growth also contributed to the emergence of Indo-Western fashion.

4. The 1980s and 1990s Era:
The 1980s and 1990s saw a growth in the number of fashion schools in India as well as a significant shift in the way people dressed in India. Additionally, it showed a notable increase in the number of women joining the labor force. Disco was first popularized in the 1980s with the introduction of several glittery and glittering dresses, leather and denim biker jackets, and vividly colored chiffon sarees that combined Western and Indian fashion trends.

The 1990s saw the introduction of full-sleeve salwar kameez, floral dresses, long skirts, denim, sunglasses, and dungarees. In the decades that followed the 1990s, Indians are reported to have assimilated more westernised fashion ideas, resulting in daring and fashionable choices.

5. The Turn of Bollywood:
Bollywood has had the most influence on the Indian fashion industry. People began to be significantly inspired by the fashion sense of Bollywood stars as color cinema gained popularity in the 1950s. Its culture, as well as the British to some extent, served as inspiration for films.

Fashion of The Turn of Bollywood

a) Between 1940 and 1960
For fashion inspiration, people looked up to stars like Dilip Kumar and Dev Anand as well as actresses like Madhubala and Nargis Datt. The Indian fashion industry suffered from a lack of organization and limited apparel styles as a result of the scarcity of bazaars and affordable brands.

b) The 1980s’ Economic Rise
Homegrown brands entered the mainstream for the first time in the history of the Indian fashion industry. Brands like Lakme, Louis Phillipe, and Park Avenue became well-known among Indian consumers.

Finally, Indians were able to make a living off of fashion design in the 1980s. The renowned names of Abu Jani, Sandeep Khosla, and Tarun Tahilani were among the first Indian fashion designers, and their creations are still well-liked by their clientele. There was more competition in the fashion business as additional labels began to emerge. International brands soon began to enter India, and boutiques gained prominence and became friendlier to the younger generation.

c) Between 1990 and 2000:
As more individuals began watching TV, fashion spread throughout all Indian households. The Indian fashion sector has benefited greatly from exposure to fashion magazines. Manish Malhotra and Rohit Bal were two of the era’s most well-known designers, and people still recognize and value their work today.

As a result of Sushmita Sen and Aishwarya Rai winning beauty pageants, this era was significantly affected by worldwide beauty standards. Traveling overseas also got more popular, which increased the influence of western fashion styles.

Internet connection was simple and women’s disposable income increased in the 2000s. As more women gained their independence, they were able to spend more money on fashion and beauty products.

6. 2010 to 2020:
A increasing number of people with smartphones are now able to purchase more effortlessly and conveniently thanks to digital advancements, improvements, and a booming economy. Since the rise of e-commerce, more individuals than ever before are making purchases online.

In recent decades, India’s fashion industry has undergone a number of turbulent upheavals. Every style is now easily accessible because to the digital age. Fashion is now accessible and simple. Brands must, however, take into account the constantly shifting preferences of their consumers, particularly in India, where quality has recently been regarded to be more important than anything else in clothes.

indian fashion 2010 to 2020

7. Increase in Trend of Fusion:
Fusion fashion is becoming more popular. In many ways, the introduction of fusion clothing has revolutionized Indian fashion. In the past few years, the fusion of modern, antique, and indo-western styles has gained enormous popularity. Fusion clothing honors the world’s and India’s fashion industry’s beauty. It has developed to the point that prestigious fashion labels include the same component in their lineup. With the emergence of long maxis with collars, hanky hems, cold shoulder maxis, crop tops, robust capes, and tunics, fusion wear is rapidly gaining favor. While, spaghetti kurtas, indo-western tops, lehengas, and kurtas are drawing a lot of attention.

Increase in trend of fusion

India is a land of multiculturalism and the massive diversity is reflected in the variation of traditional garments and the dressing styles that differ from one state to another, which is rare to spot elsewhere in the world. It has traveled from one subculture to another since ages and the traces of Indians being stylish can be discovered right from the times of Harappa and MohenjoDaro. With the advent of globalization, numerous changes have taken place in the Indian fashion industry.


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  3. https://textilevaluechain.in/in-depth-analysis/evolution-of-indian-fashion-industry/
  4. https://www.iiad.edu.in/the-circle/evolution-fashion-industry-india/
  5. https://isdi.in/blog/history-and-evolution-of-the-indian-fashion-industry/

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