Friday, September 5, 2014

Anthropology of fashion

There is a lot of fashion going around the world. Indian fashion is getting more and more global. Many of our traditional outfits are being given a fusion look, to westernising them for contemporary use. But for most Indians, the western outfits look like total misfits. The western outfits are as alien on the indian body as indian ethnic wear is on foreign bodies. So is there an evolution of fashion along with human evolution that supports the opinion that "a person looks most attractive in the traditional clothes of his/her root community"?? Are we, Indians, trying too hard to fit into that western wear that is probably not meant for us and trying to compete with our western counterparts? Or do we just have a terrible sense of fashion?

As much as I appreciate foreigners in Indian attire, I have always felt that Indian attire doesnt suit many non-Indians. A white blonde woman looks too pale for a rich, colourful indian saree or salwar kameez. Similarly a white man looks equally foreign to an Indian dress, be it sherwani, kurta-pajama, dhoti or lungi. The same stands true for a black person or asian or any other race. It's not just about colour combination. I strongly feel that its also about race as well. A salwar suit just seems like a loose misfit on tall, slender and (sometimes) athletic white women. They also dont look very convincing on a short haired african woman and many times too tight to fit into. No woman can look sexier in a saree than an Indian woman! Why is that?

Every community's clothing has evolved over a long period of time depending upon various factors such as body shape, colour, climate etc. Most of us are mix between the aryan and dravidian race over last few thousand years. We have coloured skin. We have smaller heads, rounder face, bigger eyes, smaller foreheads, bigger lips, less sharper nose etc compared to white race. We seem to have a tendency of putting on fat around the face and other parts of body and this becomes prominent due to our short height. All these seem to be beautifully hidden under our traditional clothes and we look so attractive in ethnic wear!  

But many of us look so ugly trying to fit into western wear. The aryan race up in extreme north India is genetically close to european race and that's why, probably, people from that part of India can fit into both- the indian and western wear. But for most of us, the western wear doesnt seem to be the solution. A large portion of Indian youth feels rejected at the thought of not looking as good as an average westerner even with the latest fashion on. 

The question is- 

Is there a solution for 'Indianising' western outfits for indian race? 
Is indian fashion only made for the north indians?
Are we demoralising the Aryan-dravidian mix race people and dravidian race people by promoting fashion that seems to suit only the Aryan featured people?

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