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India at 75: Know the history, and evolution of Indian fashion from 1950s to 2020s

Fashion has changed a lot since the ‘50s and each of these decades had a defining aesthetic and trend. As India celebrates 75th Independence day, here we have made an overview of the history and evolution of India’s booming fashion industry. Let’s go through the changing fashion tastes of free Indians over the last 75 years.

Fashion Trends in India
Fashion has changed a lot since the ‘50s and each of these decades had a defining aesthetic and trend. As India celebrates 75th Independence day, here we have made an overview of the history and evolution of India’s booming fashion industry.

India is celebrating 75th Independence Day this year. To encourage people, the Government of India has started a ‘Har Ghar Tiranga’ campaign and ask people to bring the Indian flag home and hoist it. Following the instructions of the government, people are passionately supporting the ‘Har Ghar Tiranga’ campaign and bringing Flag at their home.

The entire nation is ready to flaunt hues of pride – the tricolour while some people will spread out the flag, few serve or consume tricoloured food to celebrate, some will dress up in Bhartiya Tiranga. 

If we talk about Indian Fashion Trends, Fashion has changed a lot since the ‘50s and each of these decades had a defining aesthetic and trend. As India celebrates 75th Independence day, here we have made an overview of the history and evolution of India’s booming fashion industry. Let’s go through the changing fashion tastes of free Indians over the last 75 years.

1950s

After Freedom, people had a strong flavour of patriotism. They used to wear khadi to support the swadeshi movement. It can also be seen that people were more influenced towards European culture and Hindi Cinema. Actresses like Nargis, Nutan, Suraiya and Meena Kumari were the fashion icons of this era.

1960s

In the 1960s, people were more influenced by the actors like Dilip Kumar and Dev Anand and actresses such as Madhubala, Mumtaz and Nargis Datt to seek inspiration for their fashion choices. In this era, women’s clothing became more fashionable and everyone embraced bright colours and prints. 

Anarkali suit, tiered orange saree, body-hugging churidar suits, shorter blouses  and a hint of skin on display, Poufy hairdos, winged eyeliner and the uber-popular Sadhna cut were from this decade. 

1970s

The 1970s were huge for fashion because this decade gave us Dimple Kapadia’s iconic polka-dotted blouse in Bobby, Zeenat Aman’s hippie look from Hare Rama Hare Krishna, Parveen Babi’s scant bikini and Helen’s iconic Cabaret feathers. Bell-bottoms, cropped shirts, oversized glasses, platform heels and polka dots were some of the most memorable trends from this era.

1980s

The 80s era came up with a lot of changes in the Fashion Industry. This era introduced Blingy ornamentation, big shoulder pads, gaudy colours, metallics, unruly hair and leg warmers and also birthed the first generation of Indian fashion designers like Rohit Khosla and Satya Paul.

In 1983, Bhanu Athaiya won India’s first and only Oscar for costume design and the National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT) was set up in 1986. In Bollywood, Sri Devi and Rekha were the fashion icons.

1990s

This era began with the economic liberalisation of India. From denim shirts, crop tops, chokers, co-ordinates and overalls to chiffon sarees and oversized shirts – all these are the gift of this decade. The 1990s created trends that are still in trend today. Actresses like Karisma Kapoor, Madhuri Dixit, Aishwarya, Sushmita Khan and Kajol were the style icons of this period.

2000s

In this era, access to the internet was so easy which opened the doors towards the latest styles and trends. As more women became independent, they were able to afford to spend a larger amount on fashion and beauty products. Super-fitted pieces like tube tops and micro-minis as well as desi fusion outfits are given by this era. 

2010s to 2020s

Moving on to the most recent period, the 2010s gave us digitalisation including social media and influencers! The focus shifted to street style. Digital Era has made all fashion available in just one click. 

As the last decade in the midst of a full-blown pandemic draws to a close, the focus is now shifted on comfort and clothing that looks good on social media. The next decade in fashion is focussed on technological advancements such as smart fabrics and digital-only clothes.

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