From Craft to Couture: Contemporary Indian Fashion in Historical Perspective

TitleFrom Craft to Couture: Contemporary Indian Fashion in Historical Perspective
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2019
AuthorsMayer, T
JournalSouth Asian Popular Culture
Date Published03/2019
KeywordsColonialism, craft, fashion, Gandhi, History, India

The historical development of fashion has long been seen as a hallmark of European modernity. By contrast, the study of clothing in non-European societies has emphasized the immutability of dress in those societies. As a result, South Asian fashion is rarely discussed in the same terms that have underpinned the study of Western fashion, that is in the context of social, economic, and political change over time. This article situates the emergence of the luxury fashion industry in India against the social and cultural history of colonial rule, the aesthetic and industrial legacies of the independence movement, and the revival of various Indian craft traditions. It argues that India is no exception to the dynamics of fashion that have marked its development in the fashion capitals of Europe. India’s sartorial codes are not mere custom or tradition but fashion in the true sense: culturally constructed, politically inflected, and historically contingent.

Refereed DesignationRefereed