Every cloth has a story!
Every living being and their stationery counterparts (the non livings) have a story, a legacy that precedes them. Since the beginning of time, great men have fought battles and charted new courses to create and protect their legacies. The non living ones, well they had it easy; they just had to be there, to just exist in changing and evolving times to create their own. The cultures have come and gone, the empires ruled and faded, just the legacies of few men and their creations passed the test of time. And while these legends are no more, their art and creations have passed along through generations ensuring the reminiscent of their times are not forgotten.
People have great fondness to their historical roots. A collection of art, an antique piece of furniture, real estate or even stones are considered of great value and pride if they are of historical and cultural importance.
India, being one of the few countries that held on to its roots (and I mean only the good parts), has a vast cultural heritage that originated during the Dravidian, Mughal & British eras. The cultures left lasting impressions on today’s generation as well. Take clothing for example, while it has evolved and westernized, there are still a lot of art forms which are centuries old but still in vogue. Chikankari for instance, is an ancient art of embroidery originated in 3rd Century BC, that’s approximately 2300 years ago! There’s a reference of Phulkari in Vedas & Mahabharata! Just imagine the number of generations it had to pass down to still be in existence today! As a consumer, when I am wearing Phulkari or Chikankari, I am being a part of this incredible journey, of an astonishing legacy which stood through the test of times.
Like Chikankari, there are innumerable embroidery and weaving styles that are still worn with pride, not just in India, but throughout the globe. Phulkari from Punjab, Kanjivaram from Tamil Nadu, Kantha work from Bengal or Block prints & mirror work from Rajasthan, all these art forms and many more have found their way into the wardrobe of urban women and are worn with grace, poise and beauty. It is said that fashion evolves in a vicious circle, but these legacies have traveled through these circles for centuries and held their fort.
Indian cultural clothing is now being recognised as a major vogue in western fashion world as well. More and more western celebrities are now donning Indian Saree and Salwar Kameez, as latest fashion trend. But is it just fashion? I highly doubt that…more than just fashionable, Indian clothing is gaining recognition because of the story, the legacy that precedes them.