Future of fashion: From Indian heritage to digital outlook

August 31, 2021 1:30 PM

As we know India is the land of mixed culture and has roots in craft design philosophy which can be observed in its tradition. India has embraced sustainability from the very beginning and is still practicing.

fashionThe role of design colleges and institutes is very crucial in preserving heritage fashion.

By Archana Surana

Fashion has become a buzz word over the years along with sustainable craft practices. As we know India is the land of mixed culture and has roots in craft design philosophy which can be observed in its tradition. India has embraced sustainability from the very beginning and is still practicing. Our Indian Heritage has been the source of inspiration for the generations in the past and future. We have observed that many renowned fashion designers have taken insight from our heritage and given fashionable clothing to the world. Which has changed society’s perception.

Evolution is what? – open your wardrobe and look beyond the clothes you are regularly wearing these days. You will find many clothes which you have just stopped looking at because of evolution in fashion. You may have observed that how much ever the fashion changes you will require an Indian outfit for every occasion which is a part of Indian Culture. And that’s where heritage plays an important role. Although being in the fashion world you need to evolve clothing keeping the essence of tradition alive. Looking at the present need of time and technological advancement to build a digital design future, we need to cater to the necessities of individuals by keeping the story of our heritage alive.

Sustainable Fashion and Impact of Technology

Sustainable fashion is often synonymous with great design, development, production, and use of textiles, emphasizing interconnectedness. If I simply illustrate, it creates a valuable product for not only the consumer but for the planet. Painting the full picture of sustainable fashion requires taking a hard look at the various socio-economic factors attributing to its rise. As the 21st century unraveled, technological innovations have informed design-led strategies to enhance traceability, shorten the supply chain and completely changed the picture of past fashion.

The way fashion has evolved as an industry all over the world can be attributed to the industrial revolution in the nineteenth century; before the world wars, women never thought they would wear trousers. For men too, trends changed from the completely formal wear to casual. Therefore, living standards and geographical locations also affect the trends at a particular place for a period.

Observing the changing fashion for so many years, I feel that heritage gives the whole designing industry a new dimension. From Kalamkari to Pashmina, it is our heritage that inspires many innovations.

Being experienced in the design industry, I can say, there is a lot to explore in our culture. India has many craft stories woven in the fabric of its tradition and a lot to share to the world.

Fashion designers creatively think, and try to bring change. Be it Paul Poiret, Edith Head, Andrew Lever, or Indian designers who are representing craft heritage on a global stage. This needs to translate into the retail industry, not merely as a visual inspiration, but as a process.

In my last 23 years in this industry, I have never seen such rapid changes in the traditional systems as the present. The way of shopping has also shifted from offline to online. By the time the latest fashion clothing reaches the nearby stores, everyone has already ordered it from online retailers.

Nevertheless, the blend of fashion with proficiency, that we must adapt to; to have heritage meet technology and go on hand in hand. While AI is the biggest threat to our traditional fashion and it can never give the kind of output traditional artisans can give, we must remember that it is here to stay and we must accept and adapt AI to serve.

Blending technology and preserving heritage

As discussed, not overusing the AI for things that need the personal touch and taking inspiration from our heritage has to be the way. And in future also the best designs will be from the blend of technology and heritage.

The role of design colleges and institutes is very crucial in preserving heritage fashion. At modern institutes, traditional designing and heritage fashion is emphasized. Workshops and even the curriculum includes them. Another way of making people love heritage fashion is innovating it without losing the originality and ethnicity of the design; using advanced technology.

Social Responsibility

Fashion has its own definition for all, and everyone is free to choose one’s style. That goes for every section of society. The sustainable development of the practices must be looked at. Over the years, the industry has understood its social responsibility and has been continuously evolving and we must prepare the youth to be the reason for the change.

Along with the curriculum, there is a large space for exploration and ideation in the form of relevant tasks.. Creativity is not something you can learn, but here you will learn to maintain it, enhance it and apply it for doing great work.

(The author is Founder and Director, ARCH college of Design & Business, Jaipur, Rajasthan. @ archedu.org. Views expressed are personal and do not reflect the official position or policy of the Financial Express Online.)

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