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Auburn Umbrella: Indian Prints, Western Cuts

Indo-western fusion clothing has been popular for quite a while. In recent months though, clothing with Indian prints but in western cuts has seen a great boom in popularity. This has provided work to artisans all over the country whose crafts were previously on the verge of extinction.


Indo-western clothing can trace its roots back to India’s colonial past. Even though it did exist during the 1960s and 1970s, one could argue that its real introduction to mainstream fashion in India happened in the 2000s. Indo-western fashion during this time was mostly restricted to pairing traditional pieces like kurtis with western clothing like jeans. Over the past couple of years though, the nature of this fusion wear has changed. Now, standard indo-western clothing involves pieces with western cuts, but with traditional Indian prints on them.

This trend is generally more prominent in women’s fashion, with all sorts of western clothing such as tube tops, camisole tops, dresses, shorts etc. receiving an Indian makeover. While its influence is more limited when it comes to men’s fashion, it is not uncommon to see shirts for men in vibrant Indian prints as well. The younger population in particular has displayed great enthusiasm for this cross-cultural product. Initially popularised by influencers, such outfits have now taken both Instagram feeds and city streets by storm.

These days, more than half of my closet consists of western pieces in Indian prints. I enjoy buying them because they are vibrant and there’s such a vast variety of prints that I never get bored. They’re the perfect thing to wear to college because I look dressed-up without having to put in as much effort as I would have to wear a full Indian set.

Shailaja Bhowmick, a 3rd year student at Miranda House

While some major brands like Global Desi have bought into this trend, it is largely Instagram small businesses that are carrying it forward. This had a positive impact on India’s handloom industry. Most of these small businesses source their clothing from local artisans. The clothes utilise traditional Indian printing and dyeing techniques, which are generally done by hand. The boom in the popularity of Indian prints has provided employment to thousands of artisans who specialised in crafts which were previously at risk of dying out. Different small businesses specialise in different prints and techniques, such as Rajasthani block printing, ajrakh, and jamdani. These businesses also generally follow slow fashion models, and thus, are sustainable in nature. 

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Featured Image Credits: iTokri

Urmi Maitra [email protected]

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Urmi loves history and loves books. She is always on the lookout for learning something new, and will happily discuss anything ranging from political theory to jazz. Hopes to be a dog mom someday.