Where Fashion At?

I am obsessed with eras bygone. Particularly, how women dressed and what fashion dictated in the eras bygone. It’s fun and illuminating to study how fashion manipulates choices and how those choices ended up tweaking behaviors and outlooks, hence, bringing about a change. I am absolutely oversimplifying history here, but please don’t tell me that shift dresses of 1920s, miniskirts of 1960s and Bohemia of 1970s did not influence the Suffragette movement or the Vietnam wars or the free love going about. It probably didn’t, but they sure were there to witness it. That’s a long disclaimer and might lead me to digress from the point I want to bring up, which is, what is my era going to look like to a fashion dweeb in 2065?

Runway trends have been kidnapped and we forgot to pay the ransom. Now, they are dead. What was it that lead us to here? Is it the power of the internet and the information age catapulting us forward than any other previous generation to only sit back to view photographs of eras bygone, nostalgic for something we didn’t even experience first hand? Is it the fatigue from a technological revolution outpacing our needs, world politics throwing us in a tizz that we crave for the simplicity of items, tried and tested by our mothers and grand-mothers and their mothers? It could also have been the financial crisis of 2008 that helped in the rise of fashion bloggers, DIY culture, shopping vintage and re-appropriating fashion. It’s very much is a result of all of these factors combined.

This leads us to the present where the fashion industry is going through major changes in the way it does business. The traditional model of business in fashion started from the couturiers of Paris dictating the “new” shape, color, texture and detail depending upon the technological innovation at the time in the fields of textiles, dyes, machineries to the Royalties of France, these “trends” would then travel to America from where it would trickle down for the consumption of the commoners. This model hardly changed over time, except for two factors. First, New York, London and Milan joined Paris as influential centers around which the fashion industry revolved. Second, the time span for a trend to be dictated and travel down the rungs of society to become ubiquitous kept becoming shorter and shorter primarily because of industrialization, innovation in mass production, availability of cheap labor in countries such as India (Hi!), Bangladesh, China, Mexico.  and now the internet manipulating consumer behavior.

The “see now, buy now” business model that designers have been adopting for the past seasons is a direct reaction to the power of the information age. You have images from the runway circulating on social media, blogs, websites within seconds, saturating all platforms and boring the consumer before the styles even hit the stores (not good for business). I am not even getting into the knock-offs produced at a lightening fast speed by high street brands. All of these in turn, have turned the fashion scene on its head. We aren’t chasing trends anymore. At least the consumer is not. This decade so far has been heralded as the era of personal style, where everything goes, no rules, you do you. It’s the era of the weirdos who have all of the options. They wear ruffles, sequins, athletic gear, psychedelic colors, holographic metallics, distressed tees, poplin shirts, slip dresses, sometimes all together. Coupled with the desire to not be homogenized, uphold the individuality. It’s the consumer who is pushing the boundaries by questioning the rules of style, questioning whether it’s necessary to wear a shirt like a shirt, because it can also make for a cute skirt or an off-the-shoulder top. It’s the consumer that the designers in Paris, Milan, London and New York are taking cues from. You can see it in Demna Gvasalia’s approach for Balenciaga, or Alexander Wang’s decade long career or Marc Jacobs since forever. It’s trickling upwards more so than any other decade. Bringing me back to the wonders of the information age, without which there wouldn’t be any personal fashion blogs, street style blogs, Instagram, Snapchat or Pinterest. In other words, there wouldn’t be the democratization of the fashion industry.

So what does the dweeb of 2065 make of all these?

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A Lesson in History

       If you have been reading my blog for the last two days you can clearly see that I am outraged as hell about the state of women in my country and overall in the world and how the legislation of our country is slacking seriously about making up laws that actually ensure that sex offenders will be convicted and punished. But another thing that is totally beating up my brain to pulp is the fact that my fellow country-men and i really don’t know the number of this, but fellow country-women need to be taught a lesson or maybe they should just sit out a class of History of Design and Fashion that I had this semester. Then thankfully they will stop linking the attire we take on now with “our” culture.
First off, I would just like to point out that India like very few other countries has an amazing amalgamation of a number of cultural influences that has gotten us to where we are now, so much so that it is hard to point out who are the real Indians. There were the Aryans, Turks, Mongolians, Maurayans, Sungas, Kushans, Guptas, Satavahanas, Mughals setting up camps and I don’t know, bunch of others, ask a History student they will fill you in who have majorly influenced our clothing. So up until the Mughals, it never was about modesty in Indian women’s wardrobe and it was like the whole country was boob town but you know, better. Sample these:

Image       But with various religious influences and other foreign influences did the concept of modesty creep in. And mind you, only in the upper classes. And the concept of covering up our body was actually brought upon us by.. WAIT FOR IT… The Britishers. YES!! The Western Society. Remember Queen Victoria’s garb…

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So, with Britih influencing us to cover up our fab bodies, women started to dress like this..

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And since then our clothing haven’t stopped evolving, and neither will it ever. But never has it ever been a reason for a women getting raped. Because it can never be a reason. So please, do not blame the “westernizing” of Indian women, we are just trying to keep up with the fast globalizing world, because we have to but boys and men can be taught NOT to rape. So STOP RAPING, PERVERTED FREAKS OF EARTH.

Degradation of Culture

ImageIndia as a country has an astounding number of problems to deal with. What with corruption, poverty, health and sanitation, shortage of water, violence against women. I agree that the Government of India has a lot to deal with. Isn’t that the reason of building so many factions in it. There are 47 ministries in our constituency each having a different affair to look at. One of them being the Ministry of Culture with Chandresh Kumari being the current Minister of Culture. It is highly unlikely that she would ever come across my post, but stranger things have happened.

Coming to the point that I want to talk about today is the complete lack of the Government to look after the rich culture that we have inherited from our ancestors. My professor at my college had recently been to Mysore and had visited the Mysore Palace which houses the work of the great Indian painter, Raja Ravi Varma and other great work of art from various period of history. And she described how terrible the condition was with paintings being exposed to sunlight, harsh light which directly falls on the painting, mildew and fungus. Being a youth of India what fascinates me mostly and what I take pride is in my country’s history, culture and tradition because frankly the present doesn’t give much to be proud of except few individuals. We do not boast of jaw dropping architectural or engineering marvel (although, India produces the most number of engineers. Ironic). And its not only me, India is famous as a tourist spot among foreigners because of the amazing cultural hub that we present and the rich past we haven’t buried yet. So, we are losing more than just a piece of art when we let our buildings and paintings rot. We are losing our identity and pride. And its really embarrassing when having as huge a resource and one which is as spectacular and fascinating with back story so rich and scandalous as we do and still not being able to compete with the Louvre in Paris or the MET in New York.

And what’s more sad is that we have a force of moral police in our country which works against the degradation of the Indian culture by protesting against all the wrong things. I do not know what is their definition of culture, but to me its my language, architecture, textile, art, festival, texts, ideology such as worshiping nature and preserving for future and maintaining sustainability. Shouldn’t we be giving a penny worth thought to all these instead of what women are wearing in our country or whether we are losing our decency due to influence of the western culture. Eye opener: Homosexuality, Sex, The Rock n Roll Life, Open Relationship, Hedonistic Life, Nudity has always been there in “our” culture. Just flip through the Epics, Scriptures and visit your nearby Museum. RAISE YOUR MIND AND SAVE THE “REAL” INDIAN CULTURE.