Less is more: The paradox of minimalism in contemporary Indian fashion | Intellect Skip to content
1981
Decolonizing Fashion as Process
  • ISSN: 2051-7106
  • E-ISSN: 2051-7114

Abstract

India’s fashion industry experienced spectacular growth in the decades after economic liberalization. The positive outlook brought about by liberalization led to the development of a culture of design built on the backs of textile crafts centred around material excess informed by re-orientalist viewpoints as well as selective references to India’s freedom movement. Most recently, however, a newer generation of designers shunned the visual exuberance that had become the hallmark of Indian couture. Yet even as they refrain from the visual stereotypes made popular by the preceding design fraternity, they continue to foreground Gandhian principles and the sartorial politics of Indian nationalism in their design statements and approach to craftivism. The difference, however, is in the way these are reframed to substantiate the cultural relevance, authenticity and purity of a more minimalist design product. This article closely examines the emergence of such minimalist fashion and highlights the paradoxes that emerge through anti-colonial, pre-colonial and postcolonial references that are evidence of the incomplete nature of the process of decolonization. This article will argue that such ambiguity is a natural outcome of neo-liberal market forces and the realities of creating exclusive luxury fashion while working with crafts in a philanthrocapitalist framework.

Loading

Article metrics loading...

/content/journals/10.1386/infs_00075_1
2022-10-01
2024-05-27
Loading full text...

Full text loading...

References

  1. Bean, S.. ( 1989;), ‘ Gandhi and khadi, the fabric of Indian independence. ’, in A. Weiner, and J. Schneider. (eds), Cloth and Human Experience, Washington, DC and London:: Smithsonian Institution Press;, pp. 35576.
    [Google Scholar]
  2. Bhatia, S., and Priya, K. R.. ( 2018;), ‘ Decolonizing culture: Euro-American psychology and the shaping of neoliberal selves in India. ’, Theory & Psychology, 28:5, pp. 64568.
    [Google Scholar]
  3. Bodice ( 2022a;), ‘ Our story. ’, Bodice Studio , https://bit.ly/3OFY6RU. Accessed 30 April 2022.
  4. Bodice ( 2022b;), ‘ Sustainabilty. ’, Bodice Studio , https://bit.ly/3SOOze1. Accessed 30 April 2022.
  5. Botha, M.. ( 2017), A Theory of Minimalism, New York:: Bloomsbury Academic;.
    [Google Scholar]
  6. Carolan, N.. ( 2018;), ‘ Bodice and soul. ’, Grazia , https://bit.ly/3OJsJG5. Accessed 1 June 2022.
  7. Chattopadhyay, K.. ( 1998;), ‘ India’s craft tradition. ’, India International Centre Quarterly, 25, pp. 7681.
    [Google Scholar]
  8. Cline, E. L.. ( 2012), Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion, New York:: Penguin;.
    [Google Scholar]
  9. David Jones. ( 2018;), ‘ An interview with Ruchika Sachdeva of Bodice Studio: Woolmark. ’, David Jones , 7 September, https://bit.ly/3OpsOix. Accessed 7 May 2022.
  10. dezeen ( 2019;), ‘ Bodice clothes are for the women “challenging conventions” in Indian society. ’, dezeen , 6 November, https://bit.ly/3A8bE4C. Accessed 7 May 2022.
  11. Eames, C., and Eames, R.. ( [1958] 1997;), ‘ The India report. ’, https://bit.ly/3ymIbm7. Accessed 15 August 2021.
  12. Eka ( 2022;), ‘ Eka homepage. ’, Facebook , https://bit.ly/39Tn41x. Accessed 20 April 2022.
  13. Fashion Revolution (ed.) ( 2021), Fashion Revolution, ‘Fashion Craft Revolution’, 4 , https://bit.ly/3nhDpjp. Accessed 20 August 2021.
  14. Fletcher, K.. ( 2010;), ‘ Slow fashion: An invitation for systems change. ’, Fashion Practice, 2:2, pp. 25965.
    [Google Scholar]
  15. Gupta, G.. ( 2010;), in-person interview with A. Sandhu. , 9 August.
  16. Hollander, A.. ( [1994] 2016), Sex and Suits: The Evolution of Modern Dress, London and New York:: Bloomsbury Academic;.
    [Google Scholar]
  17. Homegrown ( 2018;), ‘ 8 contemporary Indian fashion labels that celebrate minimalism. ’, Homegrown , 3 April, https://bit.ly/3bo022Z. Accessed 21 October 2019.
  18. Hughes, P.. ( 2012;), ‘ Towards a post-consumer subjectivity: A future for the crafts in the twenty first century?. ’, craft+design enquiry, 3, pp. 718.
    [Google Scholar]
  19. Jay, P.. ( 2017;), ‘ On Indian minimalism. ’, Vestoj , 21 September, https://bit.ly/3OozBJn. Accessed 13 October 2017.
  20. Kalia, R.. ( 2006;), ‘ Modernism, modernization and post-colonial India: A reflective essay. ’, Planning Perspectives, 21:2, pp. 13356.
    [Google Scholar]
  21. Kiem, M.. ( 2011;), ‘ Theorising a transformative agenda for craft. ’, craft+design enquiry, 3, pp. 3348.
    [Google Scholar]
  22. Kuldova, T.. ( 2014;), ‘ Designing an illusion of India’s future superpowerdom: Of the rise of neo-aristocracy, Hindutva and philanthrocapitalism. ’, The Unfamiliar, 4:1, pp. 1522.
    [Google Scholar]
  23. Kuldova, T.. ( 2016), Luxury Indian Fashion: A Social Critique, London and New York:: Bloomsbury Academic;.
    [Google Scholar]
  24. Lehmann, M.,, Boger, S.,, Arici, G.,, Martinez-Pardo, C.,, Krueger, F.,, Schneider, M.,, Carrière-Pradal, B., and Schou, D.. ( 2019), Pulse of the Fashion Industry 2019 , https://bit.ly/3zUCHi7. Accessed 10 June 2019.
  25. Mazzarella, W.. ( 2003), Shoveling Smoke: Advertising and Globalization in Contemporary India, Durham, NC and London:: Duke University Press;.
    [Google Scholar]
  26. McGowan, A.. ( 2005;), ‘ “All that is rare, characteristic or beautiful” design and the defense of tradition in colonial India, 1851–1903. ’, Journal of Material Culture, 10:3, pp. 26387.
    [Google Scholar]
  27. McGowan, A.. ( 2021;), ‘ Mothers and godmothers of crafts: Female leadership and the imagination of India as a crafts nation, 1947–67. ’, South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies, 44:2, pp. 28297.
    [Google Scholar]
  28. Mehta, T.. ( 2021;), ‘ Between the lines: Ruchika Sachdeva on female identity & 10 years of Bodice. ’, Grazia India, 19 April, https://bit.ly/3zMUFTG. Accessed 7 March 2022.
    [Google Scholar]
  29. Niessen, S.. ( 2019;), ‘ Giving a damn and hyperopia: Decolonizing for sustainability. ’, Research Collective for Decolonizing Fashion , http://www.rcdfashion.com. Accessed 20 June 2019.
  30. Prabhu, R. K., and Rao, U. R.. (eds) ( 1967), The Mind of Mahatma Gandhi, Ahmedabad:: Navajivan Publishing House;.
    [Google Scholar]
  31. Ranavaade, V. P.. ( 2016;), ‘ Rebranding khadi for the Indian fashion system. ’, International Conference for Consortium of Green Fashion (CGF), Empowering Khadi and Handloom, Vadodara, India, 29–30 September.
    [Google Scholar]
  32. Roy, T.. ( 2020), The Crafts and Capitalism: Handloom Weaving Industry in Colonial India, London and New York:: Taylor & Francis;.
    [Google Scholar]
  33. Sachdeva, R.. ( 2017;), telephone interview with A. Sandhu. , 3 May.
  34. Sandhu, A.. ( 2015), Indian Fashion: Tradition, Innovation, Style, London and New York:: Bloomsbury Academic;.
    [Google Scholar]
  35. Sandhu, A.. ( 2020;), ‘ Fashioning wellbeing through craft: A case study of Aneeth Arora’s strategies for sustainable fashion and decolonizing design. ’, Fashion Practice, 12:2, pp. 17292.
    [Google Scholar]
  36. Singh, R.. ( 2017;), telephone interview with A. Sandhu. , 1 May.
  37. Singh, R.. ( 2021;), ‘ Slow fashion movement. ’, WEF 2021, Global Digital Women Economic Forum, Bengaluru, India:, 10 December.
    [Google Scholar]
  38. Sircar, R.. ( 2019;), ‘ Rewriting, adapting, and fashioning national styles in India. ’, in E. Gaugele, and M. Titton. (eds), Fashion and Postcolonial Critique, Berlin:: Sternberg Press;, pp. 15669.
    [Google Scholar]
  39. Sundararajan, L., and Raina, M. K.. ( 2016;), ‘ Mind and creativity: Insights from rasa theory with special focus on sahṛdaya (the appreciative critic). ’, Theory & Psychology, 26:6, pp. 788809.
    [Google Scholar]
  40. Trebay, G.. ( 2005;), ‘ More is more, with a dollop of too much. ’, New York Times, 5 May, https://nyti.ms/39XoLLh. Accessed 7 September 2012.
    [Google Scholar]
  41. Trivedi, L. N.. ( 2003;), ‘ Visually mapping the “nation”: Swadeshi politics in nationalist India, 1920–1930. ’, The Journal of Asian Studies, 62:1, pp. 1141.
    [Google Scholar]
  42. Trivedi, M. P.,, Vasavada-Oza, F., and Krishna, R.. ( 2020;), ‘ Tell me a story! Antecedents to purchase of handloom products in India. ’, Global Business Review, https://doi.org/10.1177/0972150920907251. Accessed 16 August 2022.
    [Google Scholar]
  43. Tyabji, L.. ( 2003;), ‘ The problem. ’, Seminar Web Edition , https://bit.ly/3Oktvtk. Accessed 8 May 2011.
  44. Vakulabharanam, V., and Motiram, S.. ( 2016;), ‘ Mobility and inequality in neoliberal India. ’, Contemporary South Asia, 24:3, pp. 25770.
    [Google Scholar]
  45. Vasudev, S.. ( 2019;), ‘ Waste measurements: East versus west. ’, The Voice of Fashion , 5 June, https://bit.ly/3Aam0AW. Accessed 30 June 2019.
  46. Wilson, A. V., and Bellezza, S.. ( 2022;), ‘ Consumer minimalism. ’, Journal of Consumer Research, 48:5, pp. 796816.
    [Google Scholar]
  47. Wood, S.. ( 2012;), ‘ Sustaining crafts and livelihoods: Handmade in India. ’, craft+design enquiry, 3, pp. 89100.
    [Google Scholar]
  48. Sandhu, Arti. ( 2022;), ‘ Less is more: The paradox of minimalism in contemporary Indian fashion. ’, International Journal of Fashion Studies, 9:2, pp. 33959, https://doi.org/10.1386/infs_00075_1
    [Google Scholar]
http://instance.metastore.ingenta.com/content/journals/10.1386/infs_00075_1
Loading
/content/journals/10.1386/infs_00075_1
Loading

Data & Media loading...

This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a success
Invalid data
An error occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error