Regardless of which part of the world you belong to, Indian ethnic wear is set to catch your attention for the best possible reasons. The embroidery, design, glamour, and traditional colours – all are set to catch people's attention.
A lot of this attention can be attributed to how Indian designers create fashion pieces – by weaving them through traditions and folklore. Therefore, every piece of ethnic fashion has its charm and history, making it unique. This is also why so many brands have made it a point to use their platforms to further the Indian ethnic fashion industry across the world.
Handwoven Cotton Saree With Jamdani Motifs | Dark Indigo
Why choose ethnic wear?
Ethnic wear, as a whole, is a fashion that allows an ethnicity to embrace and represent its origins, culture, and heritage. When one dresses in ethnic wear, meaning clothing of the area they originate from, they are celebrating their cultural roots. Wearing ethnic wear has also become a significant symbol of reclaiming your culture and pride, and expressing dissent against cultural appropriation.
While this is what ethnic wear expresses globally, ethnic clothing in India conveys a different meaning entirely. Indians love being extravagant, and this is reflected best in the way they choose to celebrate important milestones in their life. I
Weddings are extremely important events for Indian families, who often spend ages saving up for the big event. That is why wedding ethnic wear is one of the most popular representations of ethnic clothing in India. However, ethnic wear for daily use is just as common.
Festive Wear for Women | Handloom Cotton Orange Button Down Kurta Set
The growth of ethnic wear as a fashion trend globally
Over the past few years, the ethnic wear market has experienced tremendous growth due to digitisation and improved representation of Indians across media. No longer are Indians represented in outdated single-coloured lehengas; a case in point is the relatively subdued lehengas worn by the Patil twins, Parvati and Padma, in the Harry Potter series.
Due to surging digitisation and the ability to easily buy ethnic wear online, more and more Indians abroad are familiar with the trend of Indian ethnic wear, and are more than eager to shell out serious money for designer ethnic wear. In addition, AAPI data shows that Indian-Americans are the highest-earning racial ethnicity in the US, which is a contributing factor to this demand.
Types of ethnic wear
A) Traditional ethnic wear
From handwoven sarees to intricate designer lehengas, women in India are the biggest consumers of ethnic wear. However, traditional ethnic wear is just as much in demand for men and children, especially when it comes to special occasions.
Traditional ethnic wear as a whole can be classified into two major types:
i) For regular use:
Search for 'Women’s ethnic wear online for daily use' and you will get a variety of results on Google, ranging from traditional sarees to cotton sarees for daily use. The nature of a saree reflects its sustainability because most of them are made from breathable fabrics like silk, mul cotton, pure cotton, and so on. This is why handwoven sarees are still popular.
Sarees are timeless pieces and are often passed down from generation to generation. By adding traditions like hand-weaving, handblock prints, and handlooms, sarees become not just sustainable but also ethical, as each piece is designed for an individual, rather than produced in bulk.
Maheshwari Silk Striped Saree | Pink & Silver Zari
ii) For traditional events:
When you search for ethnic wear online on shopping websites, you will usually get search results for wedding ethnic wear. This includes not just intricate ethnic wear for women, but also for men and children.
Ethnic kids wear online consists of leheriya kurtas, printed lehenga sets, pajama kurtas, anarkali kurtas, pathanis, and more. By promoting fabrics like cotton, linen, and silk, the fashion pieces become not just long-lasting but also skin-friendly, making sustainable fabrics a must-have choice for ethnic wear for kids.
For men, cotton kurtas are typically dual use. They can be styled up as a fashion statement for fashion events, or worn as standalone pieces. However, regardless of the style statement you're seeking to make, it's important to avoid fabrics like polyester and plastic blends as they can irritate and do not last very long. Breathable fabrics like hemp, linen, and cotton do not just prolong the life of the piece, but also make you feel comfortable.
Pure Cotton Kurta For Men | Hand Block Printed | Green
B) New-age ethnic wear
Ethnic wear has also evolved into new territory – that of new-age, which typically employs fusion fashion. While Indian ethnic wear can be light, high-end, and gorgeous, Western fashion wear is often considered formal, comfortable, and elegant.
A fusion of Western and traditional fashion wear has made the rounds in the past few decades – changing the fashion industry. Some common examples of fusion wear include tunics, kurtas, palazzos, and chanderi kurta sets. By incorporating trends like hand-weaving, handblock prints, and breathable fabrics, even fusion fashion has embraced sustainable practices, allowing for elegant and comfortable fashion at the same time.
Sustainable fashion may be considered a trend for rich people, but it is just as much a healthy practice that allows everyone to be environmentally conscious. Brands have openly embraced this practice, and sustainable fashion has allowed for the return of the age-old practice of handweaving, traditional printing, and allowing every piece of clothing to tell a story.
Ethnic fashion has always been about conveying your own story and heritage, and through sustainable ethnic fashion, one can not just express their heritage but also the traditional techniques that come from that heritage. Fashion is a statement about yourself, and what better statement to make than that you are conscious of your impact on the world. If you’re looking to make this statement, check out Amala Earth's gorgeous collection of ethical and sustainable ethnic wear today!