Trends AND Culture

For as long as I can remember, I am in the habit of subscribing to most fashion newsletters I come across, reading articles based on fashion in newspapers and magazines and also following fashion blogs. And one thing I’ve noticed is that of all the fleeting controversies and problems, one issue that has been persistent for the past two decades (at least) and still hasn’t been able to develop a unanimous opinion about it is the effect of westernization on clothing and everyone’s views about it. The debate between Western and Traditional has eased down recently with the world becoming a bit more accepting of opinions of all kinds. Now, with Raksha Bandhan coming up, which is a celebrated festival in traditional Indian culture, this debate has been crossing my mind more often than it usually does. So I’ll be giving my two cents on this ambiguous matter wherein, instead of advocating a particular side, I’ll be talking about both the sides.

To speak in favour of western clothing
With the world itself being an ideal of “Change is the only constant”, it is hard to argue against people who believe in going with the flow, which is a part and parcel of westernization. Wearing western outfits that are currently in trend provides a sense of being in touch with the current world, which in my opinion is important for youngsters these days. Along with providing the aforementioned, there is no doubt that most western clothes are comparatively more comfortable than most traditional clothes, especially when it comes to women’s clothing.

To speak in favour of traditional clothing
It has become a common school of thought these days, especially among younger generation, that wearing western outfits boosts confidence and tends to offer more freedom of expression while sporting traditional clothing like sarees and salwaar qameez is indicative of the person being old school or orthodoxically backward with their thoughts. While there is nothing wrong with being old school, I personally have a problem with such unasked notions. In fact, to preserve our culture and identity, traditional clothing is one of the many things we need to hold on to. We are the only ones who can promote our culture and what’s a better way than fashion to do it?

In summation
There has to be a balance between both forms of clothing: a balance that ensures preservation of our culture along with being in touch with the changing world. Let the occasion and the people wearing the outfit make the choice between western and traditional rather than having the society make that choice for them.

Finally, to sum it all up: Among all other aspects of our entire appearance, the way we dress reflects a major part of our inner selves. Wearing whatever makes you feel yourself, be it western or traditional, is the only way to best represent and express what you stand for. There is no hard and fast rule stating that certain type of clothing must evoke certain kinds of thoughts and expressions. And if there are people who still follow such ideas, it’s high time to change the way you think.

Rubleen Kaur