India reinvents ‘ethnic chic’ at fashion week

India reinvents ‘ethnic chic’ at fashion week

MUMBAI - Agence France-Presse
India reinvents ‘ethnic chic’ at fashion week

EPA Photo

Jumpsuits inspired by sari drapes, urban dresses in tribal cloth and digitally printed lehenga skirts, young designers have re-embraced their Indian heritage at Mumbai’s latest fashion week. In a country that has struggled at times to find its way in the global sartorial stakes, a renewed pride in ethnic traditions has been sauntering down the catwalk.

“People have realized the whole point of Indian fashion is its Indian-ness,” said fashion journalist Sujata Assomull-Sippy.

Top designer Sabyasachi Mukherjee is reported to make 45 percent of his 11 million dollar turnover from the sari, the much-loved drape considered both formal and flattering, modest and sexy.

 “Ethnic is chic,” declared the Hindustan Times in June, as India’s growing band of working women enjoy more sophisticated takes on traditional wear, now more readily available on the mass market. For designers, providing a practical and affordable edge has become crucial as they shift their focus from the moneyed socialite to the middle-class young woman with her eye on global trends.

At Lakme Fashion Week, which closed yesterday, Sidharta Aryan took ethnic Indian garments, the sari, the lehenga, but created them from digitally printed silk, rather than reams of embroidery.