Clothing is a necessity and fashion a fascination. Everyone likes to look good, and not all are willing to spend inordinate amounts to achieve it. Indians, in particular, seem to have mastered the skill of looking fashionable at little or no cost. Some of the most popular styles in the country can be adopted with no burden on one’s wallets. The last post on this blog explored the small, growing market of the rich. This one is dedicated to the much larger market for affordable fashion.
India is often referred to as a bright, colourful, vibrant country, one, in the words of an erstwhile colleague, that is “just all over you”. Whether India is or not, one of the things all over the young college student, artist, actor or potential poet is the multi-coloured jhola. Inexpensive, convenient and very fashionable, it seems to have emerged as the sign of those who refuse to be a part of the fabled rat race, those who shun the binds of corporate employment, the symbol of free spirits and rebels. I would hesitate to comment on the meaning and passion of its bearers, but the bag itself certainly adds flair to any outfit or individual.
Beaded necklaces, bracelets, earrings and anklets are all the rage today. Cheap and easy to make, they are that rare accessory favoured by men and women alike. While the former prefer neck-pieces and bracelets in subdues colours, the latter are more experimental with the colour, quantity and style. There is an increased market for beads made out of recycled materials, giving the buyer/maker the ability to use their fashion statement to declare environmental stands.
Kolhapuris and Jootis
When it comes to footwear, nothing could be as stylish or inexpensive as Kolhapuri chappals and jootis. Although traditionally worn with Indian clothing, they are now worn with all kinds of garments, making a colourful statement with any outfit. They can have high heels or be flat, dull or covered in mirrors, pointed or rounded, and worn by women of all ages. An added advantage is the high comfort level they offer, making them the ideal choice for working women and students.
They can be worn with any outfit, from skirts to tunics, on any part of the body, be it around the neck or over the head, in any length, from short and crushed to long and flowy, in any colour, material and texture. And they can make one look very stylish at no cost at all. Any piece of cloth can be easily fashioned into a scarf and be worn in place of shawls, mufflers and dupattas. The scarf has become an extremely popular accessory in recent times with the increasing number of celebrities seen wearing it and being emulated by both men and women.
These fashions are not new or unique. Styles are more often recycled than created, like a new way of doing the same things. Popular trends are generally those that have been popular in the past, faded from memory, and then returned like the proverbial bad penny. Large sunglasses, skinny trousers, long tunics and short dresses have all been famous trends a few generations back and are now in vogue again. Is it not then, assuming all trends are bound to reappear, possible to predict when this will occur and how fashion will evolve? What impact is that likely to have on the market? Is there a logical, accurate way of doing this? I suppose we can only try.