Evolution of the women’s ethnic clothing segment


When it comes to fashion and fashion trends, this continues to evolve over a period of time. And the same goes for the women’s ethnic clothing segment. Ethnic wear is still Indian women’s favorite segment whether it is everyday wear or casual wear, but with the emergence of new consumer demands and modern trends, the industry continues to grow. evolve.

During the different eras, we can observe a great evolution of Indian ethnic clothing in terms of style, fabrics, embellishments and comfort. Interestingly, the new era of ethnic clothing for women has evolved beautifully over the decades while keeping Indian roots intact. The most common example being Anarkali suits, from the Mughal-e-Azam era, have now evolved into Anarkali dresses, worn without dupatta and churidar by women.

To understand this evolution of Indian ethnic fashion, let us look at some of the factors that impacted the evolution:-

  • The Emergence of Indo Western or Fusion Looks- The term Indo-Western seems to sound more complicated than it actually is. If you want to put it in simple terms, it means that it is Indian outfits with a touch of western element. While the 70s and 80s era was all about basic Indian clothing, the modern era is all about fusion styles. Ethnic wear like Salwar Kameez has evolved over the years into different styles like shirt style kurti, asymmetrical kurtis etc. being styled with jeans or pants by women of modern ages. Other examples include lehengas with crop tops, sarees with a shirt, etc.
  • Evolution of sarees into ready-to-wear sarees- Saree is the oldest garment and the most popular garment in India. However, with modern women’s increasing preference for comfort, more and more consumers are switching from normal sarees to ready-to-wear. And to keep up with the rapidly changing consumer mindset, we can observe many Indian brands in the market that continue to offer innovative styles in the ready-to-wear saree segment. From the oldest cotton sarees to dress sarees, from Kanjeevaram sarees to pre-draped sarees, there has been a huge transition in Indian sarees.
  • The advent of influencers- While Indian cinema has always been a major influence in the evolution and emergence of trends, today’s influencers are bringing an evolution in style. Top influencers are jazzing up Indian ethnic wear with their modern draping styles. Modern styles like pairing a lehenga with a shirt, draping a dupatta in a modern way, or adding a blazer with a saree are gaining popularity.
  • The role of Westernization We cannot deny that Western clothing has influenced women today immensely, due to their comfort and designs. With the influence of westernization, today we can see women wearing traditional Indian silhouettes in a westernized way to follow trends and look stylish. For example, the evolution of sarees into saree pants, generally preferred by working women to reflect their corporate image, dhoti salwars evolved into dhoti style jumpsuits, traditional polki embellished lehengas evolved into skirts/lehengas modern and so on.

The Indian fashion segment has evolved endlessly over the years. Even though we have witnessed a vast shift in the women’s ethnic segment, we can still observe a great consumer demand in women’s ethnic clothing. Some women like to keep it traditional based on their cultural heritage while others prefer ethnic clothing with a mix of modern styles. Although different analysts have different views, the ethnic clothing segment will never diminish from the wardrobe of Indian women.



The opinions expressed above are those of the author.



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