Fashion is an evolving subject. Yesterday's fashion will undoubtedly resurface again as fashion moves its way through the trend cycles time and time again. Fashion refers to styles of dress (but can also include cuisine, literature, art, architecture, and general comportment) that are popular in a culture at any given time.
The total range of costumes in India is considerably expanded between the 8th and the 12th centuries. Interesting and useful accounts of geographers and chroniclers, especially those of Arab and Chinese origin throw light on the Indian costumes in vogue at different times in history. In their accounts, Masudi, Idrisi and Ibn Hawqal speak of Indian cotton with a sense of wonder and awe. With the arrival of the Mughals in the 16th century, new garments like qaba, jama, piraban, lilucba, liba, kasaba, and the like began to be used. These kinds of costumes are also found illustrated in the historical works like the Babar nama, the Tawatlkb-i-kbandan-i-Taimuriya and the Tarikb-i-fi.
Abu'l Fazl provides probably the best documentation that we have of the costumes of India from any single source prior to the 19th century. He mentions that Akbar had replaced the names of several garments with new and pleasing terms. Muslin from undivided India was an important commodity of export and a high fashion fabric in Europe and other parts of the world.
Indian costumes like the silk saris, brightly mirrored cholis, colorful lehangas and the traditional salwar-kameezhave fascinated many a travelers over the centuries. Although sari is only one of the many traditional garments worn by women, yet it has become the national dress of Indian women. The tightly fitted, short blouse worn under a sari is a choli, which evolved as a form of clothing in 10th century AD.
Though the majority of Indian women wear traditional costumes, the men in India can be found in more conventional western clothing. Shirts and trousers are worn by men from all the regions of India. However, men in villages wear traditional attires like kurtas, lungis, dhotis and pyjamas.
Indian dressing styles are marked by many variations, both religious and regional and one is likely to witness a plethora of colors, textures and styles in garments worn by the Indians. Apart from this, the rich tradition of Indian embroidery has long been made use of by fashion designers from other countries. India prides in works like Zardozi, Dabka, brocades, Pashmina, Jamawar and bandhni. It seems paradoxical that fashion is considered a young concept in India since the first fashion show was held only in 1958. Jeannie Naoroji wins the credit for initiating the first wave of fashion shows in India and for giving a degree of professionalism to such shows.
Since then, there has been growing consciousness among the Indian men and women towards the fashion, styles and designs of the dresses they wear. Several institutes like National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT), Indian Institute of Fashion Technology (IIFT) and other fashion academies have been established where the students are taught to translate their creativity into dresses and fabric designs. The media has also played an important role in the fashion boom. Good coverage is provided to the fashion world and several magazines are specifically devoted only to the fashion scene. The proliferation of fashion-based programmes on the satellite television channels has increased the consciousness of the average Indian masses about the changing trends in the global fashion.
In the past one decade the Indian fashion industry has moved from the embryonic stage to a blossoming take-off. Fashion designers have contributed substantially to the spread of fashion as a driving force, both among Indian consumers and select segments of Western markets. India can now boast of dozens of leading fashion designers, who can match any European fashion designer in their concepts, styles and designs. Ritu Beri, Rohit Bal, Ritu Kumar, Abraham and Thakore, Deepika Govind, Gitanjali Kashyap, Indira Broker, J.J.Valaya, Lina Tipnis, Manoviraj Khosla, Pavan Aswani, Payal Jain, Ravi Bajaj, Rina Dhaka, Sharon Leong and Chandrajit Adhikari, Shaina NC, Sonali and Himanshu, Wendell Rodricks, Anna Singh, Ashish Soni, Jatin Kochar, Madhu Jain, Manish Malhotra, Ravi Bajaj, Salim Asgarally and Tarun Tahlliani top the growing list of reputed fashion designers in India.