History and evolution of fashion in India | 2024

History and evolution of fashion in India | 2024 Those years of Indian fashion cannot be summed up in a few words – as the ethnicity, beauty, and grandeur of each era have been captured in a unique way by the artisans and designers. It is its changing development that continues to attract inquisitive minds. Here we present an overview of the history and evolution of India’s booming fashion industry that you will love.

History and evolution of fashion in India | 2024
History and evolution of fashion in India | 2024

History and evolution of fashion in India | 2024

India’s textile industry is considered one of the largest capital goods contributors to the economy. Because Indian fashion is known for its traditions and cultural and classic touch of ethnicity, the development of fashion in India cannot be ignored because even today it is touching great heights on international platforms as you also know.

Traditional patterns and designs on aesthetically pleasing fabrics like Chikan Kari and Zardozi are seen many times with a touch of Western color on some of the biggest runway platforms of the world. Indian fashion, over the years, has been particularly known for its intricate designs and attention to detail. This is evident in the work of some of the leading designer brands in the country such as the most famous Sabya Saatchi, Manish Malhotra, Anita Dongre, and many more.

There have been some drastic and some subtle changes in the Indian fashion industry. Let’s go back to where it all started.


The Indus Valley Civilization is the place from where it all seems to have started. Some of the earliest records of traditional Indian clothing were also found during the Indus Valley Civilization (Bronze Age civilization), which lasted from 3300 BCE to 1300 BCE.

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History and evolution of fashion in India | 2024

History and evolution of fashion in India | 2024

The earliest record of sari-style draping fabric was found in the art of the Maurya Empire (322 BCE – 187 BCE). The idols of that time are seen draped in sarees with some elaborate jewelry carvings which look very attractive.

history of fashion in India

The Indian textile industry was booming long before the fashion industry took its initial steps. The export of silk and cotton had started in India long before the era of colonialism. India around 300 B.C. I discovered the secret of making silk from the Chinese. Many places across India also became centers of silk weaving. These were mainly places like Cochin, Gujarat, Varanasi, Delhi etc. Where silk was known for its inexhaustible softness and luxurious feel, it soon became popular among the royal families of the country and became a favorite among many.

history of fashion in india
history of fashion in India

With the rise of the Mughal Empire, intricate details and prints on silk also began to become prevalent. However, fashion at that time was a luxury reserved only for the rich. Along with beautiful silk pieces, the rich wore accessories, jewelry, precious lehengas, and sherwanis embellished by the best professionals to further enhance their prestige.

Indian fashion during colonialism

The East India Company brought with it the Anglo fashion of skirts, trousers, and blouses. These styles were applied to the employees of the British when they worked as clerks in their offices. After some time, the upper classes gradually started adopting these European styles.

Until Indian colonization, fashion was a privilege afforded only by the country’s richest people. The impact of the caste system on the history of Indian fashion is noteworthy. Fashion followed the practicality of people’s business and clothing. For example, poor farm laborers and clerks used to wear dhotis and cotton sarees; There was separate clothing and armor for soldiers or warriors. Clothing symbolizes the caste, class system, and diverse roles divided within society.

This cotton cloth was often made by hand and woven by the people themselves. The need or requirement for fashionable clothes was never seen among the common people of the country.

However, fashion at this time was an imposed fashion on most middle-class Indians, and hence it never developed as an industry even in the colonial era. Poverty and oppression played a big role in this.

Indian fashion: after independence

Even decades after Indian independence, the economy was still in the torturous grip of the negative effects of colonialism. The country was still struggling economically, however, which once again caused fashion to lag behind. However, the country’s urban and even educated population preferred Western clothing and to some extent, European fashion was kept alive.

The real rise of the Indian fashion industry began only after partition and the coming into existence of a stable economy of the country. And as a result of the growth in inter-state trade, Indo-Western fashion also flourished.

Bollywood turn

Bollywood has had the greatest influence on the Indian fashion industry. As color cinema became popular in the 1950s, people started getting influenced by the fashion sense of Bollywood stars; whatever they wore became fashionable. However, the films were getting inspired by the local culture and to some extent by the British also.

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Many people looked to Bollywood actors like Dilip Kumar and Dev Anand and then-famous actresses like Madhubala and Nargis Dutt for inspiration for their fashion choices. The drawback of the Indian fashion industry was that the industry was becoming largely disorganized, with clothing styles limited to the masses due to the rarity of markets and brands.

1980s to 1990s

The 1980s and 1990s of the Bollywood era have done an impressive job of making fashion even more popular among the masses. The style of superstars like Amitabh Bachchan, Dada Jackie Shroff, and Zeenat Aman, who are called mega heroes, says a lot about their personalities and once again people have sought inspiration from these celebrities.

Economic rise of the 1980s

History and evolution of fashion in India | 2024

If you look at it, for the first time in the history of the Indian fashion industry, domestic brands have come into the mainstream. Brands like Park Avenue, Lakme, and Lewis Philips have become popular among the Indian audience.

It was only in the 1980s that fashion designing finally became a viable profession and industry for Indians. Some of the first fashion designers of India included the prestigious names of Abu Jani, Sandeep Khosla, and Tarun Tahilani, whose designs are still loved by their audience. Seeing this, other brands also started coming forward, which led to the growth of the fashion industry. Competition started to be encouraged a lot. Soon, international brands were also expanding into India, and boutiques were becoming prominent and more welcoming to the younger crowd, which is still very much in trend today.

Fashion education was first provided by NIFT which was the first to provide fashion education. The last two decades have seen more growth in fashion than any other, and films like the film Maine Pyar Kyun Kiya Became popular for their actors’ styles clothing choices and fashion. There have been many such films which became popular because of their fashion.

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1990s to 2000s

As more and more people started watching TV, fashion became more common in all Indian homes. The exposure of fashion magazines has also proved to be extremely beneficial for the Indian fashion industry. Some of the popular designers of that time were Manish Malhotra and Rohit Bal, whose work is still recognized and appreciated to a great extent by people even today.

This was an era that was strongly influenced by international beauty standards as two Indian actresses, Sushmita Sen, and Aishwarya Rai, won beauty pageants. Due to the increasing influence of Western trends in fashion, traveling abroad has also become common.

In the 2000s, there was easier access to the Internet and increased disposable income for women. As more women became independent, they were able to spend large amounts of money on fashion and beauty products. More foreign i.e. international brands like Louis Vuitton and H&M have also started expanding their base in India which has further increased the import of products.

From 2010 to 2020 History and evolution of fashion in India | 2024

Digital innovations, innovations, and the growing economy have allowed more and more people who have smartphones to shop more easily. E-commerce has become popular and now more than ever, people buy things online because of the increasing popularity of online.

India’s fashion industry has seen many turbulent changes in recent decades. The digital age has made all fashion available at the click of a single button. Fashion is now very easy and accessible. However, it is also becoming imperative for brands to keep in mind the ever-changing needs of their customers, especially where Indians have been seen to give first priority to quality over everything when it comes to clothing and mostly buy it online. She goes.

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