Quintessentially ethnic

Quintessentially ethnic

There seems to be a growing awareness among people to preserve tradition. They also have woken up to ethnic fashion with traditional wear holding strong ground during festivals and special occasions. From being an apparel of choice to an essential attire in the wardrobe, it has ventured into new forms, styles, designs and presentation. Many people attribute ethnic wear to qualities like convenience, comfort and elegance.

“In our country, ethnic wear is widely sought-after during weddings and festivals. But now, the trend has moved from just saris and ‘salwar kameez’ to kurtis, ethnic pants, jackets and ‘Patiala’ pants which have both Western and traditional elements. Nowadays, those in the age group of 18 to 25 are opting for ethnic wear as a preferred college and office attire. It is becoming popular because it is not restricted to a class, age and gender,” says Jainam from
‘Bhusattva’.

Sahaja NS, a young professional, prefers ethnic wear over Western during Summer.
“Ethnic wear is extremely comfortable and since most ethnic clothes are made from cotton, I feel comfortable wearing them.”

There was a time when getting a ‘salwar kameez’ stitched would mean going to the local tailor and relying on the tailor completely. But today, a growing number of ethnic e-stores and brands are intending to make a market space for ethnic wear to preserve Indian culture and improve the productivity of rural artisans. Prathusha JV, a 23-year-old, who loves ethnic styles, adds, “Ethnic wear no longer comes across completely traditional or boring. Today, one can have an Indo-Western look with trendy kurtis. There is the combined benefit of elegance, comfort and fashion quotient, along with a wider range of options to choose from.”

Srijata Bhatnagar, founder of ‘EthnicShack’, believes that it is important to bring back arts and crafts into our daily lives. “It is when ‘ethnic’ becomes a way of life and not seen as a festive wear alone that we can help rural artisans and preserve Indian culture. However, it is not enough to just source the ready-made items from these artisans and sell them online, it has become even more important to mould their arts and crafts in the direction where it can entice the current generation.”

As for the shoppers, every time they shop for an ethnic wear, they participate in preserving the traditional design, culture and  India’s heritage of centuries-old art and craft, sustaining it for the future and nurturing the livelihood of artisans. Although women are primary consumers of ethnic wear, there is a wide range of ethnic wear available for men. There are several brands which offers men’s ethnic wear for various age groups.

Paul Mondal, a professional, feels that ethnic wear is beyond the barriers of age and gender. “I would love to own a piece of my Indian tradition in a form of an attire. Above all, ethnic wear is extremely comfortable and easily available,” he says. It also reveals the background of a particular place and indulges in preserving culture through fabrics. When ‘EthnicShack’ visited West Bengal, they discovered an art called ‘Pattachitra’ which is a 200-year-old art form prevalent in rural India. “We have inculcated ‘Pattachitra’ in Western shirts and tops. This helps preserve the traditional art form and also introduces people in the city to new art forms, which are sometimes forgotten,” sums up Srijata.


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