Breaking The Shackles Of Fashion
The playground for Indian fashion has long been dominated by celebrated icons setting off a trend. Bollywood has had an especially significant role to play in influencing how people dress. Some of the most popular styles over the years have flowed from the silver screen to the everyday lives of men and women – bangs, puffed buns, tight-fitting kurta and churidaar, bell bottoms and polka dots, baggy jeans or designer-influenced chiffon saris with embellished blouses.
While each of these looks sharply defined what being ‘fashionable’ means for men and women, the focus on comfort, individual expressions of fashion, and experimenting with looks took a back seat. Well, not anymore – embracing their own style beats being ‘in style’ any day.
As Christina Aguilera famously says, “Fashion is a lifestyle, it’s a choice, it’s a freedom of expression. You have to live it, you have to love it, you have to breathe it.” Women, and men too, have taken that to heart, to put it mildly. We see a lot today which would have been alien or quite radical some years back.
This Independence Day, let’s take a look at how women and the fashion industry at large are breaking age-old stereotypes.
Running Without Fetters
When men choose clothes for working out or running, comfort and convenience is on the top of their mind. When women choose workout clothes, they think of safety, how their bodies will look in a particular attire, what kind of attention they will attract and everything in between. Athleisure brand advertisements are teeming with women working out in the chicest and most comfortable clothes, including sports bras and shorts; but does that translate itself in reality? Sadly, no.
In a bid to make a statement about women’s right to workout in ways and clothes they are comfortable in, around two dozen women from Delhi NCR came together recently to form what they call the #SportsBraRunSquad. The idea behind forming the group was to make women feel comfortable with running in their sports bras. Quite a bold statement, in the name of freedom of clothing!
Pockets Full of Freedom
There is a long, sexist history behind the politics of pockets in women’s attires. The fashion industry’s unhealthy obsession with making women’s figures look slim and slender resulted in skirts and trousers that barely had any space for pockets. The advent of tight, low-rise pants, and later skinny jeans only added to the woes.
Come 21st century, women are definitely enjoying their pocketful of freedom, with big, roomy pockets featuring not only on pants, but kurtas, skirts and dresses too. After all, why should women not have the freedom and mobility to keep knick-knacks, from phones to lipsticks, as close to themselves as they want?
Pink, Peach, Fuchsia… Enough with Gender Stereotyping
18 years since the turn of the century and pink is still considered the colour for girls and blue for boys. The good news on this front though is that the youth are simply not interested in looking at gender through rosy or blue lenses, unlike their parents and grandparents. Breaking away from this stereotype, the use of pink, peach, fuchsia to design men’s garments is becoming more and more common. Not only is it becoming a statement about gender equality, but gradually doing away with the very concept of certain hues being meant for a particular gender!
When Ranveer Singh wore a man-skirt to an award function and was featured on a magazine cover sporting a nose ring, it made headlines. Aamir Khan courted similar controversy with his nose pin. Gender-neutral and androgynous fashion however, is on its way to becoming a norm. It is already a rage on international runways and the Indian fashion industry is also not far behind on catching up to the trend. Models like Malkeet Singh, Rabanne Jamsandekar, and TJ Singh are changing the face of Indian fashion.
In the last decade androgynous garments and unisex styles have blurred the lines in stereotypical binary fashion. In India, there are different fashion designers as well who are dabbling in the gender bender movement. Unisex t-shirts and women in suits is, of course, have found a place in many a wardrobe.
So, this Independence Day, take a moment to relish your freedom of fashion and wear what your heart desires.