Fashion has its roots in time, diversity, seasons and culture. The blend of fashion with various communities, heritages, and lifestyles has always given us a new outlook on the vogue world. We can't deny the influence of Indian culture on our fashion choices, right? Not just the ethnic and traditional wear, but our modern outfits also showcase the fusion of our vibrant culture and global trends.
Within this realm of Indian customs, tribes are another hidden part that embraces their craft, driving modern fashion designers to create something artistic, classical yet casual. Different draping styles, bright hues, unique prints, and accessories from tribes are creating style statements in this modern world.
The immense popularity of Indian tribal art gave a wake-up call to modern designers to add multicultural diversity in their catalogs. Today, tribal fashion is not just restricted to casual wear but has also made an entrance into runway shows and glamorous collections. And thus, we can catch a glimpse of this lesser known India in international trends with new possibilities.
Today, we enlist the modern fashion designers and their collections that are highly inspired by Indian tribes.
Ikai And Dropaks of Himalayas
Ikai is an exclusive collection by Ragini Ahuja driven by the Dropaks tribe who live in the foothills of the Himalayas. This tribe practices a life of purity and believes in sustainable fashion, and as a result, natural flora and fauna are majorly used in making clothes. Sharp illustrations, animated work with details, and canvas-like silhouettes of dropaks women are breaking stereotypes about female attire.
Ikai includes kaftans, shirts, dresses, pants, jackets, and kurtis with clear lines and geometric patterns, making outfits unique and presenting the fuss-free style of this tribe. Ragini took inspiration from Dropak’s fixation on the lack of adulteration while producing clothes. She combined handwoven cotton and silk fabric with geometric floral print to create a Himalayan jacket, while for headgear she chose real and origami leather flowers.
The Nagaland Narrative
With the collaboration of "Tribes India", Ritu Beri narrated the bright fashion style of the tribe of Nagaland in the 34th Surajkund International Crafts Mela. Beri's design combined indigenous Nagaland clothes and patterns with mini-skirts, leather jackets, and western-style fitted pieces to create a striking and contemporary look. A leather mini-skirt with a handloom patterned panel, a fitted coat fashioned from North Eastern weavers, and a lehenga ensemble with a leather vest and bright stripes were all standouts. Models were also decked out in typical Naga beaded accessories.
Rabari Community And Their Natural Way of Life
Inspired by the way of life of the Rabari tribe, Karishma Shahani Khan presented her tribe collection at Amazon fashion week. Village charms, needlework caps, and patchwork safas or choli, as well as special colors, decorations, textiles, and accessories that disclose diverse qualities of a person, have become a source of inspiration.
This collection incorporates mashru and cotton fabric to produce useful apparel by imitating the tribe's aesthetic. Ancient tie-dye methods, thread embroidery, mirror design, and appliqué are among the surface embellishments. Her trench coat design also includes a reversible jacket with mirror-work buttons and bandhani tie-ups. The immaculate white surface of the jackets features classic designs and hand-embroidered details, while the black surface features colors mimicking the Rabari community outfits.
In the list of tribal-driven fashion, Antar Agni by Ujjawal Dubey is based on north India’s Van Gujjars community. This group of water buffalo herders has a strong bond with their animals and nature, which became the spirit of these designs. The rawness of Indian textiles is conveyed by different wrapping patterns of shawls, loose shirts and pants with dirty lines, and the dominance of gray and black shades.
Their non-conformist, flowing, and unrestricted outfits are the reason why the Anant Agni collection has no traces of glamor or luxury. These designs maintain the tribe's raw, uneven selvedge as a key feature, juxtaposing handwoven fabric with scribble embroidery to create a patchwork effect. Slits on the side of the trousers were created to be waist-high so that they would be convenient to move around in. In order to make them look like the struggle of tribal people’s lives, contrasting embroidery was used. In a departure from conventional tailoring, these garments are cleverly worn with Mughal turbans and juttis.
With a belief in sustainability and long living, designer Priyanka Lama created this label. "P.E.L.L.A" is known for its zero wastage designing techniques and use of indegious, handwoven, and non-violent ‘eri silk". Her simple designs that are unpretentious and fashioned out of natural materials are inspired by the tribes' Lachenpas and Lachungpas’ of Northern Sikkim. This community has the philosophy to live in a metaphysical world without any touch of luxury or modernity.
These silhouettes of Lama are an interpretation of the tribe's prominent outfits, bakhu and honju. Bakhu resembles a cloak that covers the entire body. Both male and female members fastened the bakhu on the shoulder and waist with a cotton or silk belt. Men carry this over garment with loose pants and trousers, and women pair it with a pure silken blouse known as honju.
What A Dose of Inspiration!
The culture of India has always been a source of inspiration for the apparel industry. Along with world's styles & customs becoming more interconnected, the degree of effect Indian vogue has on worldwide platforms is enormous. Our 1000 years of old heritage’s adaptability and craftsmanship inspiring our textiles, weavers, artistry, and elegance have earned us a global reputation & we must cherish & preserve our legacy along with aspiring others to innovate with these roots.
Eclectic Line- Up By Jenjum Gadi
Anemoia by Richana Khumanthem
Abstract by Anuradha Kuli
Fight & feast by Anupama Dayal