Fashion and food are the two celebratory ingredients of any festival especially our Indian festivals. We Indian are unapologetically unabashed in all our celebrations anyway, add the element of festivity, sprinkled with some religious rituals and we are sure to take it to another level of spectatorship altogether!
Given the fact that the upcoming festivals of ‘Navrati’ rounded up with ‘Vijaya Dashmi’ and topped with the ‘Diwali’ mark the Win of Good over evil, this cannot become more metaphorical than this as we too are currently battling the evil of pandemic and seeking the end to this dark times that this unprecedented situation has brought in all our lives across the globe. We even saw the US Presidential candidate, Mr. Joe Biden, wish all the Indians/ POIs with this sentiment!
Just the way, our greeting ‘Namaste’ lead the world in the lessons of social distancing, it’s only befitting that our celebrations too changes the mood from melancholic to euphoric and optimistic. Setting the stage for the same are the food, decor and Fashion! Going ethnic is the mantra and leading the way are all the celebrities who have suddenly started to wear their Indian sartorial choices on their sleeves! Let’s all celebrate Indian Ethnic and fusion wear this festival season and not only that, let’s add the spin of making our local win global hearts by endorsing our rich handicraft legacy. Also, today fashion has moved beyond mere trends, it is now about lasting styles, classics and sustainability. We can use fashion buying as a tool to empower self-reliance and economic revival too by investing in true ethnic products that are not just sustainable and support local crafts but also are heirloom treasures for our generations to come!
As in the current pandemic times, most of us are either going in for made to measure fashion or shopping online, be it a Sabyasachi or any online aggregator. All platforms offer a huge opportunity to support our local crafts. In terms of apparels, India is very rich and unparalleled in its offerings of textile materials and craft-based merchandise.
CHOOSING AN ETHNIC TEXTILE
As we advocate going ethnic this season, it is assumed we mean wearing a saree or a salwar kameez. Yes, it does mean this, along with many more apparel types to choose from but before we get into the product mix, let’s take a step back and discover the world of heritage textiles that our ethnic fashion has to offer. Whether its saree or any other apparel, choice of fabric can range from Benarsi, the pride of India, to Chanderi silks, various kinds of Indian handloom silks like Tussar, Pochampalli, Bhagalpuri, Kanjivaram, Jamaavar, Khadi, Ahimsa Silk, Matka Silk, Brocade, Patola, Ikkat are all finest examples or heritage textiles.
Besides the amazing weaves, we have a wide range of choices in terms of various prints and embroidery materials too. As the metallic prints make their come back, hand block printed textiles from Sanganer, Rajasthan are a cause that merit our buying support. Traditional tribal hand-painted textiles like Warli and Madhubani art too make for a breathtaking material which needs no further silhouette or styling enhancement. Bandhez and Batik are an amazing celebration of colours which complete a fabric on their own and need no further embellishment. Beautiful silks embellished with embroideries like Kashidakari, Zari Zardosi, Chikankari, Mirror Work, very much in trend too, Kaamdani, Kantha, Phulkari, Patchwork, Applique, Cutwork, beadwork, each offers its exquisite look to an ethereal attire.
MIX YOUR STYLE AND OWN YOUR LOOK
Besides the traditional textile material, as per the trends, we could even get the ‘in-trend’ fabrics like velvet, georgette and tulle too embellished with our choice of craft. Our fabric may be ethnic, our embellishments may be ethnic, yet our outfits could be as contemporary as we want them to be! If you are a teen or a twenty-something and are not a great fan of typical Indian attire, fret not! You could get an amazing dress, a crop top or a jacket done in traditional textile or material that uses the above-mentioned textile elements in trendiest or quirkiest of motifs and team them with a pair of jeans! Alternatively, get well-fitting brocade pants made and pair it with a cool statement T-shirt or a halter blouse or a sheer shirt! A sharp tailored skirt in traditional textile would definitely be a head-turner. How about a palazzo or wide-legged pants in a delicate sheer chikankari or zardozi material teamed with an interesting jacket or a shrug with a tank or brocade tube inside it! Or a jumpsuit in the same material for that matter would be hip too.
Dressing for the festival with an Indian feel to it doesn’t have to be a limited choice of Sarees, lehengas, salwar kameez, gharaaras, shararas, sherwanis, Achkans, Sadris, Bandhgalas, Kurta -Pyjamas only. Although why not these as well!
How often do we actually don them in our regular schedule anyway?
GO INDIAN IN YOUR COLOURS
When celebrating festivals, it’s all about colours!! Marigold yellow is the hottest colour of the season. You can make a statement by endorsing the all-new Period red just launched by Pantone. Navy blue, Rust, Bottle Green and Olive, Indian Green, Purple, Maroon, Magenta, Wine etc are there to make you the cynosure of eyes. For a subtle presence, go for the pastels and soft tones like a blush rose, lilac, baby pink, pastel orange, mint, powder blue, lime, cyan, teal and the likes. Add a dash of neon to the outfit either as trims or as accessories or with your makeup to round off your festive look!
Ethnic silver and costume jewellery, tribal jewellery, embroidered ‘jooties’, Kolhapuris, Nagras, Batuas, Potlis, Bindis, handcrafted belts embellished with shells, mirror work, handcrafted leather belts and bags, parandis, bangles, henna designs or henna tattoos,
There is a whole range of ethnic accessories that can notch up your look beyond imagination!
Do anything but make sure to sport one aspect in your look that has contributed to a local craftsman’s festival cheer too!! That is what we call celebrating the festival with Indian style and spirit!
Happy Dushehra and Diwali to All!
-by Shipra Anand
A Lucknow based Design Entrepreneur & Design educationist & counsellor, NIFT Delhi alumna with 24plus years of experience, founder Academy for Fashion Careers, Co- Director JD Institute of Fashion Technology and co-owner TISYE Fashions