BE FASHIONABLY FLUID

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How gender fluid fashion is changing the discourse in the industry

Fashion has conventionally been divided in two broad sectors – women’s wear and menswear. But talking about fashion and convention in one line itself is an oxymoron. Fashion has no form; it takes shape of the time it lives in with influence from cultural, social and political-scape of the world. No wonder then that gender fluid fashion has been creating waves in seismic proportions across the fashion and creative fraternity.  The clear demarcation between menswear and women’s wear is blurring. There is a new breed of innovative designers who have become the torchbearers of gender fluid fashion. They create unisex line of clothing while promoting a cultural revolution addressing the fashion needs beyond the binary customers.  Labels like Anaam, The Pot Plant, Antar- Agni, Huemen and Anuj Bhutani are leading the gender fluid fashion in India.

So what is gender neutral aka gender fluid fashion?

This is the latest entrant in the fashion vocabulary that creates unisex collections for all; not just catering to men’s or women’s line separately. But has the gender non-conformity happened for the first time in fashion? No. Androgynous fashion for women was first started by Yves Saint Laurent in 1966 when he created the first women’s tuxedo for evening wear. As the second wave of feminism spread across the world, women embraced the tuxedo as a symbol of rebellious evening wear.

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YSL – First women’s Tuxedo Campaign in 1966

Women wearing pants and shirts have been accepted as a form of androgynous dressing but the reverse isn’t true. Men wearing effeminate clothing, be it skirts or crop tops or slouch pants or sari, hasn’t been very common in current times.

Though the history recounts it otherwise.

One can’t forget David Bowie in the 70’s. He tried it all, from one-legged cat-suits, voluminous tie-dye suits to embroidered dress coats. Clothes were used to define personalities and make big statements. Remember Boy George rocking the peacock punk style and everything outrageous in the 80’s?  Back home in recent times, Ranveer Singh has been the ambassador of gender fluid fashion flaunting his devil-may-care-swag with long skirts, quirky floral print suits and earrings.

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David Bowie – Stardust Ziggy

 

“Historically, clothes never had gender.  Our mythology provides us with ample examples in form of deities who despite being the icon for strength had effeminate dressing style.  Clothes worn then were not divisive on the basis of gender. Be it Dhoti drape, skirt, pearl strings, beaded necklace or earrings, none of these indicated that these particular elements were meant for only men or women. It is only after the invasion of Mughals and the British Raj that there was a clear distinction of menswear and women’s wear” shares Sumiran Kabir Sharma, Founder & Creative Director of Anaam Label whose style aesthetics are highly inspired by Ardhanareshvar avatar of Shiva, an androgynous form of Shiva and Parvati.

Winner of the Woolmark Company’s Best Design Collection Award Portfolio 2013 and Woolmark Young Talent Award, Kabir’s labels’ ethos lies in its unique language — their silhouettes, drapes and detailing. Anaam as the name suggests, is a label that doesn’t adhere to any norms or rigid barriers.

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Janaaza collection – Anaam

According to Fred Davis in his book ‘ Fashion, Culture and Identity’, the dress of the European aristocracy changed in the 1800s when men’s dressing became a means of communicating economic success and women’s dressing continued to follow an elaborate dress code. As a result, men assumed a highly restricted dress code as the European aristocracy began to decline and the advent of industrial capitalism began.

George Bryan Brummell, better known as Beau Brummell was an iconic figure in Regency England in the 18th century. Known as the forefather of men’s modern style, Brummell was the first one to introduce the concept of bespoke dressing. He made slick tailored suits trending as opposed to elaborate dress coats of British aristocracy.

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George Byron Brummel

“The British invasion brought in the strict code of dressing divide. Erstwhile drapes were traded for modern day pants, shirts and jackets to fit in the working class in India” shares Himanshu Verma, Founder –Red Earth. He further elaborates on the history of menswear and adds ‘Before Mughals came to India, both men and women wore only drapes, either as dhoti or a sari. The concept of stitched clothing came in with Mughals.  Ornate Jamas and Chogas became a part of both men and women’s wear”.

Himanshu Verma, aka Saree man, has been the torchbearer of gender fluid fashion in India since 2006, almost a decade after David Beckham wore sarong and took the world by surprise. The Saree man moves around the country curating and showcasing saris from different regions, while being draped in his six yards. He wears handloom saris with eccentric shirt blouses while colourful nose pin and ear studs are his evergreen style companions. On the days when he doesn’t wear a sari, he opts for dhotis, almost always.

Himanshu Verma

Himanshu Verma aka Saree Man

Resham Karmchandani and Sanya Suri’s love for fashion aesthetics are not restricted to gender. Their label ‘The Pot Plant’ believes in inclusive and comfortable fashion for all, regardless of gender. Their ensembles explore the possibility of moulding supposedly feminine fabrics like chanderi, silk and bandhani into garments that are just that – ‘garments’; a non-gender confirmative entity.

“For us working with gender fluid aesthetics has not been just about designing clothes that people would like to wear. We both have grown up with beautiful hand–me-down clothes irrespective of the fact whether they belonged to our brother or sisters or our parents. We wore our mother’s dresses and our father’s old shirts .So the idea of creating gender neutral clothes came naturally to us” says Sanya Suri on their ethos to create gender neutral clothes.

The Pot Plant

The Pot Plant

Reiterating the importance of hand-me-down clothes in Indian families, Kabir reminiscences his childhood and shares “I come from a middle class family from the hills in Himachal Pradesh. I was given clothes, be it skirts or floral pajamas, as hand-me-down from my elder sister. Since it was a part of my upbringing I never thought that these pieces were gender specific. Education and society conditions us to believe in these demarcations. My label Anaam is an extension of my belief in breaking these society generated barriers of clothing’

Kabir, who calls himself a silhouette artist, is influenced by his family in his style aesthetics. His mom was a teacher who proudly flaunted sari with sports shoes and wore his dad’s coat to protect from cold. It was a utilitarian approach more than a style statement. Gender conformity was never a question.

“If one may notice, kurta, Tee-shirt, Jacket and Jeans are gender neutral clothes. Shirts however have distinction in buttons. Women have buttons on left and men on right. Theories say it was because upper class women in Renaissance and Victorian eras were dressed by maids and hence for the ease, buttons were on left. At Anaam, we create clothes that are unisex. Buttons are on the same side for both men and women’ added Kabir on trivia of gender neutral clothes.

While the world is embracing this trend of gender neutral garments, there is still a resistance in customers in India. Bollywood celebrities like Arjun Kapoor have sported cowl-neck and draped pants by Antar-Agni, Sushant Singh Rajput has walked for Shantanu and Nikhil in a cascading draped kurta whereas Ranveer Singh has sported skirt. But beyond the celebrities endorsing the trend or models sashaying the outfits on ramp, labels see a marginal acceptance outside the fashion and design fraternity. Women have been acceptant of the androgynous fashion as a symbol of feminism in everyday life but men are still hesitant to try the drapes and unstructured silhouettes.

Arjun Kapoor

Arjun Kapoor in Antar Agni

“I think there has been a paradigm shift in the way people are now accepting fluid aesthetics. They are following the trend but we think there is still a long way to go in India. While there is more acceptance of women wearing androgynous clothing and men wearing draped silhouettes, I think we still have time when men will accept wearing dresses and women will wear ‘traditional’ menswear silhouettes” shared Reshma Karamchandani from The Pot Plant on market acceptance in India.

Kabir adds an interesting point on business aspect of unisex garments while sharing “In European markets, unisex clothes are very acceptable. There is an emergence of sustainable fashion believers who tend to invest in labels that produce garments with lesser carbon footprints. Unisex garment production is a sustainable way, both for designers and retailers. They do not need to invest in creating an inventory for both genders thereby reducing the amount of fabric used and resources spent. The acceptance in India is at a nascent level but I believe with Bollywood endorsing the gender neutral clothes, there should be a change in the scenario in future”

There is a rising population of youth that does not want to be identified in standard gender binary (male or female). They want to be gender fluid and not bracketed in one label. The society has become more acceptant of this Cultural Revolution. Gender Neutral trend is moving beyond symbolising its wearers’ identity or sexuality. World over it is now being accepted by the mainstream as more of a look both on ramp and high street. Will Indian fashion aficionados accept this as a mainstream cult or allow it to fade as a cyclical fashion trend is a million dollar question.

Until then, the silent mutiny of Gender Fluid Fashion continues; trying to be heard.

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Is weekend already here ?

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Ahmedabad has witnessed more than 800+ exhibitions in 2017 alone; a number strongly indicative of the fact that the city is changing the way it shops. The standalone stores are not the only go-to options for the new breed of fashionistas. They want to explore more, maybe in a set-up that allows them to browse through with their girl-friends without having the pressure to buy, unlike in a regular store where the sales girl is after your life to buy that ‘latest style’…

Weekend Window, started by Meera Ambasana Shah and Harshit Shah, is that fashion phenomenon that is all-embracing – regardless of the age-group, gender and economical background. There is something for everyone – be it fashion, lifestyle, food or entertainment. Weekend window is back in the city with its 12th Edition – Glam Edit as they call it.

Like every time, I went through the exhibition in a bid to find something different, keeping in mind that well if nothing works out, I have the food belt to bank on… You see, nothing can make me more happier than a big slice of pizza and Foodaholics in Ahmedabad just had the right mix of food stalls that one might want to gorge on a slightly cold winter night in Ahmedabad.

Speaking of winter, I wore a black sequined bomber jacket with a blue linen saree just so that I wouldn’t feel cold but alas, it wasnt too cold. The saree and bomber jacket did manage to strike a few conversations with the ones who loved different aesthetics.

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Black Sequined Bomber jacket with linen Saree

During the walk through, I found ‘Colour Me Mad‘ – a footwear label started by Trishla Surana. As the name suggests, the footwear had colourful prints and designs that made one stop by, but what got me most interested was that it was made of cork !

Think of Birkenstock right ?

Colour Me Mad

Yes, they look similar but are made in India by this label that is carefully researched and made in sync with a podiatrist. The knowledge was music to my ears for I have been suffering from feet ache since a long period of time and havent been able to lay my hands on good footwear brand that is ergonimically devised. Colour me Mad has latex padding for the comfort of feet, ideal for the ones who have flat feet and heel pain. They have printed footwear besides the solid coloured basics in black and cream.

The price range is between 1600 to 2000.

The second label that I found interesting was ‘Tisva Inc‘. It is a fashion jewellery label started by Charmi Shah. What got me interested was the designs; how often is that you find temple jewellery and south india-centric design motifs in an exhibition in Ahmedabad ?  Rarely ever… The quintissential jhumkis in antique matte gold finish are the must-buys for saree-lovers like me. Armed with strong design and business acumen, Charmi made her debut with this exhibition. With experience of more than a decade in designing, marketing and management, she wishes to bring a different sense of aesthetics in jewellery and make it available at affordable range. Look for exquisitely detailed jhumkis, chandbalis, chokers, long neckpieces and sets for the ongoing wedding season at this stall.

The price range for earrings is between 1000 – 2500 whereas the chokers are in between 3500- 6500.

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‘De Quill’ Jewelry by Parshna is another label of interest for those who love modern contemporary jewellery that is edgy and raw, the one that can amp up your daily wear and can be used as statement piece for ocassion wear. Parita and Darshana started this label recently. The idea was to create pieces that can be used for both everyday and festive wear. Using the fine brass as the metal, the duo has launched a collection that has geometry as its design base. If you love shapes and structure, you will like their jewellery.

The price range is between 500 to 2500 for earings and neckpieces.

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How satisfying is it to see a styling student come up with a stunning range of Ajrakh jackets, right ? Well Nena Hirani was one such student I met at the exhibit. I bought a minimalist slate green coloured dress from  – Advaitya by Yogin Chauhan , they have a classic range of dresses in midnight blue and slate green besides pants in mustard, maroon, ivory, blue and black.

The price range is between 1500 to 5000.

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At the fag end of the shopping zone, where my other favourite section begins – food & entertainment zone, you will find ‘Satvaras’ – a natural cold pressed juice counter. Dharmik Patel,  the founder, will explain you the entire process of why cold-pressed juices are easier, less cumbersome and nutritious as opposed to my counter rhetoric of ‘but juices lose their nutrients in 20 minutes’. It seems cold pressed juices are nutritious, fibrous supply is reduced thus claiming that body gets energised faster and so on.

I have my doubts about its nutrition still since fibre is the major reason why juice should be consumed without seiving, but well it tasted nice. They have a subscription model too for the ones who wont move their asses to make juice at home. Cool, right?

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My final stop was at the food belt. We hogged on to Paneer rolls and hot chocolate from Happy rolls and crispy corn chat from a place I forget. In the humdrum of what to eat and what to leave, I forgot eating Gajar ka halwa at one of the stalls.. Sigh, it will haunt me for the night.

In case you havent still been to Weekend Window, do head for it tomorrow.

( Other labels that I always love and are must check out are – Kitsch by Nk, Namaste NYC, Jutte, Rituals, Silai, Kasturi, Advaitya, Kala Chowk and Eta Jewels)

Venue : Karnavati Club

Time: 4 pm to midnight

( PS – For more pictures , do check my Instagram profile – Falguni_appleblossom )

Disclaimer – The products from ‘Colour me Mad’, ‘Tisva Inc.’, ‘De Quill Jewellery by Parshna’ and ‘Satvaras’ are gifts from the magical people at Weekend Window. Advaitya is my purchase. The opinions given are however mine, regardless of it being a gift…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why is slow fashion on an uprise?

Falguni Patel, Fashion Blogger in Gujarat, Fashion & Lifestyle Blogger, Top 10 blogger in Gujarat, Fashion Critic, Fashion Writer, Stylist, Aesthete, Appleblossom,, slow fashion movement
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If you have been following fashion news, there are chances that you would have come across buzzwords like slow fashion, sustainable fashion and ethical fashion. International designers and labels have been on the sustainable band wagon since about three decades now. In India, the movement is gaining momentum, albeit in the marginal elitist fashion aficionados.

So before you head out and make the purchase under either of three labels- slow fashion, sustainable fashion and ethical fashion, here’s a breakdown of what do these terminologies mean and why do they exist…

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Kate Fletcher

Kate Fletcher, an eco-textile consultant, coined the term ‘Slow Fashion’ in 2007. It was adapted from the concept of ‘Slow Food movement’ started by Carlo Petrini in Italy in 1986.  Slow Fashion draws a parallel with Slow Food movement by aiming to strike a balance in consumption pattern of fashion consumers by increasing awareness and responsibility towards environment.

Since last century, the entire process of fibre to fashion has been ruled by fashion trends being showcased through four collections in a year. Growing cotton in the farms to ginning to weaving the fabrics to dyeing – all these essential process in textile production creates a huge impact on the environment.  Whether it is the use of fertilizers and pesticides to increase per hectare production, disposing effluents after dyeing the fabrics or overuse of water in producing one pair of jeans, there is a sizeable amount of environmental damage that happens.

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Cotton Fields

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Dye Effluents from Factory

Once the textile is ready to be converted in a fashionable garment and produced in bulk, factory workers come in picture.

Biggest fashion conglomerates outsource their production from countries like Vietnam, Cambodia, Bangladesh, China and India as the labour wages are lower as compared to developed countries. However, most of these factories run in abysmal conditions where the workers are working overtime in cramped dim-lit environment. The machinery and venue safety is a perennial concern. While it might be passed off as ‘employment generation’ by these few governments, more often than not it is just outsourcing of cheap labour by the developed countries.

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Garment Factory workers

The Rana Plaza disaster in 2013, in which 1,130 people died and 2,500 were injured when a run-down eight-storey factory complex making clothes for Primark, Benetton, Walmart and other Western brands collapsed, highlighted the dangers of the industry in Bangladesh. Closer home, some Bengaluru factories keep women (the majority of garment workers) in hostels monitored by male security guards and severely restrict their movements. Most are allowed to leave for only two hours a week, usually on Sunday to buy groceries and other items, and only after registering with a guard. The rest of the time, women are expected to travel only to and from work, and guards record when they arrive at and leave the hostels.

Moving on from factory workers condition, these mass produced garments are then sold off at retail outlets at affordable high street rates. Mass-production and poor labour wages give the manufacturer/fashion house a huge scope to cut on the rates.

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Fast Fashion

However, the demand-supply economics works well in a competitive environment. Consumption pattern by the fashion conscious population has witnessed an upward growth in the past two decades owing to mass produced affordable fashion. We all have more than 100+ garments in our closet now as compared to an average of 30+ garments about two decades ago.

Quite a substantial increase right?

Top it up with the increase in landfill dump that is increased with the rise in amount of clothes being discarded every year. It is not just the energy-intensive process of making the garments from fibre to fabric that is causing environmental and human rights issues; the reality is that most of the clothes we wear end up in landfill.

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Landfill

So yes, while you flaunt around that bargain deal top that you just got from H&M, Zara, Stalkbuylove or Ajio, someone somewhere has paid the price for it.

This is exactly where Sustainable, Ethical and slow fashion comes in picture.

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Sustainable fashion focuses on environmental impact that a garment has; in laymen terms it means no use of fertilizer to produce the cotton used for fabric, using drip irrigation method for harvesting thereby saving water, using natural dyes to prevent the effect of toxic effluents on water and ensuring that minimum carbon footprints are generated in production of one garment. It means labour used is local and the garment travels very less from crop to final finish to avoid larger carbon footprints.

Ethical Fashion deals with advocacy of fair trade practices in fashion industry. It means right price is being paid to farmer, weaver, dyer, tailor and factory worker that is in sync with labour laws of the country.

Slow Fashion essentially deals with timeless styles that are unaffected by seasonal trends in fashion. It is a movement to promote cuts, silhouettes and colours that stay with the wearer always, regardless of changing seasons. It is an antithesis of fast fashion; the one where every week new styles keep coming up. It advocates buying quality garment that stays longer rather than buying 10 fast fashion garments that wear and tear easily…

Slow Fashion’s antecedents trace back to 30 years ago.

A revolutionary movement was started by Patagonia, outdoor retailer from USA, back in 80’s. It took the world by storm with its iconic ad – ‘Do not Buy this Jacket’ in a bid to promote anti-consumerism. It has played a strong role in environmental activism. It advocated buying less, repairing if needed and wearing the loved clothes more often.  It struck a chord with a segment of people who believed in this cause and its sales zoomed up by 47% in next two years. All through these years, Patagonia advocates buying less but buying good quality only.

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Patagonia

Eileen Fischer is another label that has spearheaded the slow fashion movement in last three decades producing quality organic work-wear for women.

Falguni Patel, Fashion Blogger in Gujarat, Fashion & Lifestyle Blogger, Top 10 blogger in Gujarat, Fashion Critic, Fashion Writer, Stylist, Aesthete, Appleblossom,, Eileen Fischer

Eileen Fischer

India too is catching up with the slow fashion revolution indeed. There is an up rise of designers shifting to branding and re-branding themselves as the purveyors of slow fashion. With labels like Paromita Banerjee, Soham Dave, Shades of India, Naushad Ali, Three, Runway Bicycle, Doodlage and more, there sure are many options to check for a conscious consumer. Easy silhouettes, naturally dyed clothes, organic fabrics – all tick marks done while promoting sustainable and slow fashion in India.

However, is the slow fashion revolution truly democratic in India?

Is it all inclusive or is it catering to the niche segment only?

How does one promote conscious- fashion -consumer behaviour?

(Watch this space for the next article on the Series on ‘Slow Fashion and its evolution’)

 

 

Forever in Blue Jeans

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Money talks
But it don’t sing and dance
And it don’t walk
And long as I can have you here with me
I’d much rather be
Forever in blue jeans
Honey’s sweet
But it ain’t nothin’ next to baby’s treat

And if you pardon me
I’d like to say
We’ll do okay
Forever in blue jeans

Neil Diamond 

Named after the city ‘Genoa’ in Italy way back in late 19th century, Jeans have retained the cult status of ultimate style staple for any fashionista worth her salt. The versatile fabric has been used in all forms of garment construction – be it pants, skirts, tops, shirts, jackets, dresses, jumpsuits and even sarees. Fashion experts have gone ahead and embraced denims season after season while designers play around with waistlines, hemlines and embellishments.

We bring you the top picks to style the denims in six different ways.

  1. Embroidered Denim

The 70’s flare is back and how. Gucci’s collection of butterfly, snake and flower-adorned denim is definitely the must-have item for the quirky fashion lovers. Decorated with hand-stitched appliqués, the jeans are cut in a flattering flared silhouette – perfectly in tune with the label’s retro-inspired aesthetic.  Pair it with a plain white tee for the eclectic vibes. If you are the DIY kinds, get kutchi embroidery done on your old pair of denims and give it a funky new look.

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Denim Trends SS 2018

 

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Amal Clooney being the 70’s goddess

2. Jacket

Layering is one of the biggest trends for 2017. Buy a classic blue over sized denim as the staple for layering. For the boho chic vibes, opt for patch-work embroidered back. Lay your hands on the spiked jacket for the cool biker look. For the sustainable fashion lovers, there are brands that create upcycled boro denim jackets. Wear it over a dress or throw it on as a cape. For the stylish edge, wear your jacket backward front.

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Harper Embroidered denim distressed floral jacket

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June Chapters Denim Jacket by Nidhi Lodha

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Boro Cape

3. Jumpsuit

Started as a fashionable trend by Coco Chanel in 1920’s and having later gained popularity as the ‘rosies’, denim jumpsuits have a polarised fashion view. Some love it, some hate it. But we say, one can never go wrong with a denim jumpsuit. Style it with basic white tee for or wear it over a turtle neck cardigan. Wear a peasant top for the bohemian look or style it with crisp white classic shirt for a Friday dress-up.

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Ruffled denim Jumpsuit Sea Resort Wear SS 2018

Denim jumpsuit Ajio

Denim Jumpsuit – Ajio

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Denim Jumpsuit SS 2018

4. Dress 

Move aside LBD. Say hello to the denim dress. Opt for 50’s midi denim dress for the poised feminine look.  Keep the hemline short, crisp and suave for a dinner date. Wear the easy denim shirt dress for the weekend lounging. Long maxi dresses with patchwork are the new norm for resort wear. Dress it up or down depending on the occasion.

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Denim Midi Dress – co-resort-2018

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Denim Maxi Dress

Koovs denim dress

70’s style bell sleeved denim dress

5. Skirt

Denim mini skirt has been a classic wardrobe staple since decades. The lengths of the skirts have altered cyclically. The current trend is towards midi length denim skirts, a trend reminiscent of the 50’s. Style it with blouson tops with bell sleeves for the hippy look. Comfort fit lovers can get a long flared skirt for the extra twirl and be ready to rule over the kingdom of bohemia.

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Vionett Long denim skirt

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Olivia Palermo in pencil denim skirt

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Dakota Fanning in classic blue denim mini skirt

6. Saree & Shirt 

Textile designers are pushing their boundaries while incorporating the denim fabric while retaining the softness of the saree so that the garment drapes well. Go stylish by opting for denim saree and team with floral blouses or opt for denim shirts /crop tops to add some cool quotient to that six yard drape.

Denim Saree - Fashion Market LK

Saree from Fashion Market

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Classic Denim Shirt

(The Original article was written and published in Femina Gujarat magazine – October 2017)

How are you styling your denims ? Care to share in the comment box ?

8 ways to boost hair growth

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In the fast paced maze of urban lifestyle, one inevitably faces the dreaded issue of hair-fall and hair thinning at one point or other in life. Detailed introspection in terms of dietary intake, hormonal imbalance, drug side effects, pollution and stress levels needs to be done to deduce the causative factor for hair loss which leads to stunted hair growth. Whether hair growth can be boosted or not is debatable, but there are certain tried and tested ingredients that can aid in increasing blood circulation of the scalp thereby stimulating the hair growth phase.

Hair growth cycle comprises of 3 phase – Anagen, Catagen and Telogen. Anagen phase is the hair growth phase wherein hair grows by ½ inch every month. It lasts for around 2-6 years. Catagen phase is the transition phase lasting for about 10 days. Telogen is the last phase in which hair falls from the bulb. It typically lasts for 5-6 weeks. At a given point, each hair is in different phase of hair growth cycle. Thus losing 80-100 hair per day is considered to be normal; anything beyond that is termed as hair loss.

So what are the easy remedies to boost the hair growth?

  1. Onion – Onion is rich in essential nutrient sulphur- a building block for keratin content of hair. Sulphur is known to stimulate the anagen phase thus aiding in hair growth. To try this remedy, cut a few slices of onion, squeeze out its juice and apply it on your scalp for about 10-15 minutes. Rinse it off with a mild sulphate and paraben free shampoo for healthy hair. Alternatively, one can try potato juice in the same way.

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  1. Hibiscus – This flower is rich in amino acids and vitamin C, both of which are essential for hair growth. It is one of the best home remedies used for hair growth. It prevents the pre-mature aging and improves the thickness of the hair. One can mix coconut oil or sesame oil in hibiscus flower paste and apply to hair. Rinse the hair with mild shampoo after 15 minutes for to get the bouncy locks.

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  1. Fenugreek– It is an age-old kitchen remedy for hair growth issues. Fenugreek contains proteins and nicotinic acid which is known to encourage hair growth. Additionally it also adds shine to the hair owing to lecithin. Add a tablespoon of soaked Fenugreek seeds and water in a grinder till a smooth paste it formed. Mix coconut oil to it and apply the paste on your hair and scalp. Wash it off with a mild shampoo after 30 minutes. Repeat this process every week to see results.

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  1. Amla – Amla or the Indian Gooseberry is rich in Vitamin C and anti-oxidants. While Vitamin C accelerates hair growth, anti-oxidants keep hair follicles healthy by fighting off the damage-causing free radicals. One can mix 2 teaspoons of amla powder with equal amounts of Shikakai powder and mix it with water to form a paste. Apply it to the scalp and hair and let it dry for 30 minutes. Rinse it off with some warm water. Shikakai acts as natural cleanser whereas amla aids in hair growth.

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Despite there being kitchen remedies, most women opt for salon treatments either due to lack of patience or lack of time. The salon treatments give quicker results and bring about a sense of relaxation. No wonder high frequency treatment, Mesotherapy for hair loss, keratin treatments, Organic spa and Moroccan spa are ringing the cash registers at salons.

  1. High frequency therapy – It is a type of intensive hair treatment to cure dandruff, hair-fall or alopecia, carried out by treating your hair with high-frequency infra and ultra rays. A comb that emits infra red rays is used on various portions of the affected scalp. This is process is done for two-three minutes, followed by a thorough oil massage for about 20 minutes, followed by hair mask, steam and UV ray exposure. If done for 5-10 sittings, this treatment gives considerable results while boosting hair growth.

 

  1. Mesotherapy – It is a non-invasive technique based on superficial microinjections. Mesotherapy is a treatment that stimulates the mesoderm – middle layer of skin, approximately 1 mm deep.The solution injected can contain a wide range of minerals, vitamins, amino acids, nucleic acids and co-enzymes that can be tailored to each patient’s individual needs to boost hair growth. The treatment itself takes between 10 and 30 minutes depending on the area being treated. Usually minimum of 10 sessions is required to stimulate hair growth.

Contrary to the popular belief of selling innovative hair treatments to increase hair growth, Hair research expert Saloni Mehta shares, ‘Hair re-growth is debatable topic in hair industry. It is not possible to re-grow the hair; it is possible to stimulate the scalp, improve blood flow and nutrients. It will aid in pushing more hair follicles in growth phase. It is important to maintain a healthy PH balance of scalp between 4.5 to 5.5. Healthy scalp means healthy hair follicles and better hair growth. It is also important to watch the micro-nutrients in your diet and get your dose of vitamins to maintain a healthy mane’.

She adds,”Start by getting yourself checked for vitamin B12 and D3 deficiency. In case one is suffering from thyroid imbalance or PCOS, hairfall is bound to happen. In such cases it is important to first solve the systemic disorder. Second step is to check on the stress levels and dietary inputs. It is important to maintain healthy diet full of micro-nutrients and essential amino acids to have a healthy scalp and hair growth.”

There are other salon treatments available in market for boosting hair growth and softness. Frizzy hair leads to lot of breakage and hair loss.

  1. Deep conditioning treatments are done with an aim to increase blood circulation through massages while hot steam aids the penetration of products in the scalp. Loreal, Schwarzkopf and Matrix have a range of deep conditioning spa that boosts hair nourishment and in turn improves hair growth. In the premium segment, sulphate and parabene free products are on an up rise.

 

  1. Organic Spa from Amsterdam based brand like Keune is the latest craze in the hair industry. 911 Quinoa from Biotop Professional is another product that is selling like hot cakes for the ones interested in organic hair treatments. Quinoa based products are like life-line for dry, damaged and lifeless hair as they contain natural protein.

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Last but not the least, stay hydrated always. There is no better remedy than a healthy meal and happy sleep.

( This article first appeared in Femina Gujarat)

Musafiri – 5 Essentials

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Pack up your troubles in your old kit bag
And bury them beneath the sea
I don’t care what the people may say
What the people may say about me
Pack Up your troubles get your old grin back
Don’t worry bout the cavalry
I don’t care what the whisperers say
Cos they whisper too loud for me

Eliza Doolittle

Monsoon has become synonymous with vacations and travel, for the urban working class. The thought of travelling through the greens while its still drizzling makes one start planning for the weekends that fall between June – Sep. Whether you are headed to north eastern- scape of the country to escape the city bustle or are travelling to the lesser explored beach destinations, you will always need to learn the art of packing right and light. It is important to select your bags carefully for travel while bearing in mind that it is utilitarian besides being fashionable.

So we bring you the list of 5 essential bags that you should buy for keeps.

  1. Weekender bag

Packaging is important, isn’t it? So why compromise on the bag that carries all your fancy summer wear. Weekender duffel bags are the perfect carry-me bags for those spontaneous weekend getaways. They are your best bet when you want to travel light and avoid baggage check-in.  There are various travel accessories label that design weekender bags in different materials like leather, nylon, canvas, denim and organic fibres.  We recommend weekender bags from The Burlap People and October Jaipur for the urbane travel look.

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Weekender Bag from The Burlap People

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Weekender Bag from October Jaipur

  1. Backpack

If you are a 90’s kid, you would have definitely carried these back packs to school and college. Guess what, Backpacks are back in vogue again. They are here to replace the mod purses and make preppy look cool. What more, besides looking hip, they can hold all your essentials like mobile, passport, make-up kit and shades in organised compartments. The creative nerds can add a customised patch to make their own DIY designer back pack.  The classic lovers can select from denim & leather backpacks whereas the eclectic ones can pick up the ones with boho chic embroidery.

Mohawk Bags and The Burlap People have covered your back for your stylish back pack needs.

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Backpack from Mohawk Bags

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Backpack from The Burlap People

  1. Tote Bag

Come summer, come winter; what can never go out of style are the quintessential Tote Bags. They are very much like the denims of the ‘bag world’; one can have multiple trendy options, but ought to have a classic piece. Invest in a smart brown tan leather bag and wrap a bright summer scarf to amp up the style quotient. For the fast fashion lovers, there are stunning canvas tote bags available with hand painted art work, digital prints and tassel embellishments.

If you are going for the beach holiday, don’t forget to carry the ‘mermaid tote’ by Cyahi and if your are just going to explore the cities, grab this luxury travelling piece from Nappa Dori.

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Tote from Cyahi

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Jhola Bag from Nappa Dori

  1. Cross Body bag

Several travelling experts recommend one travel bag that can not only help you stay safe from pickpocketers but also look stylish– the ubiquitous ‘cross body satchel bag’. Opt for the bags with broad straps as they distribute the weight evenly across the shoulder. It is available in cotton, leather, denim and nylon fabrics.  Do you recall the ‘Jhola’ bags that come in bright traditional silk fabrics? They are an interesting take on bohemian cross body bag. Check out interesting ikat and leather satchel bag from Nappa Dori and classic leather bag from Chiaroscuro.

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Satchel Bag from Nappa Dori

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Satchel Bag from Chiaroscuro

  1. Woven Bag

Be it lazing on an exotic beach or walking down the French promenade, a woven straw bag is a must-have for the easy breezy summer vibes. The idyllic picture perfect postcard setting of a straw bag, a leather brimmed hat, pastel scarf and retro white shades is enough to prompt one to start planning the vacation ahead.

Woven straw bags have become a fashion staple for the fashionistas, be it summer or fall. Pick up the one with pom poms, tassles, coins or shells to stand out from the regular.

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Straw Bag from Camelcraft

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Get these travel ready bags now and get going, will you?

( Images from the respective websites)

Note – This article was first published in Femina magazine.

Original, Inspired or Plagiarized ?

falguni pate, top 100 indian fashion blog, ahmedabad blogger, fashion writer, fashion blogger in gujarat, inspiration, creativity, plagiarism, paul gauguin,
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 ‘Art is either plagiarism or revolution’

Paul Gaugin

Digital revolution has been the biggest boon and the bane of 21st century society. Our brain is over-exposed to a high decibel of information from various platforms throughout the day – be it print, digital, radio or electronic medium. We have the luxury of reading about the Cannes Festival or IIFA awards in real time while leisurely browsing through the next vacation destinations at the click of a button. Images are freely available on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and official websites for people to like, comment and share. Some download them for design reference; some modify them whereas most copy them.

So what exactly is happening in the Fashion industry in 21st Century digital age?

When does inspiration become plagiarism?

I can vouch for it that most of the talented designers, stylists, writers and photographers (read – creative field) go through an angry upheaval once in a while.

Who stole my design?

Who copied my style aesthetics?

Who magically created same ‘blush’ colour palette?

Who is ripping off my style of writing?

Who is stealing my photo compositions?

For starters, let’s get the basics straight.

Any non technical field, the biggest threat is no entry barrier. Any person can become a designer, a photographer, a writer or a stylist (I will stick to Fashion domain here) despite the lack of technical education. Education improves the thought process and lays down the foundation for strong design thinking. However, it isn’t mandatory…

The absence of any technical ground rules leads to over-supply. In a country that thrives on Darwin’s theory of ‘Survival of the fittest’, demand & supply dynamics are perennially skewed. It definitely takes time, energy, resources and money to create original design / product. But for the rest, it’s only copying, thus saving on cost and passing it to the end consumer.

The ultimate winner is the cheapest provider.

High street fashion is on a steady up-rise . What was last season for high fashion labels is so in for the high street fashion. It is easy and cheaper to take inspiration from high fashion designers who have spent months on research and trials. Design thinkers lead the way to create unique designs whereas the rest follow them. Some openly admire and take inspiration from it while most copy it without giving any credits to the original creator. Everyone’s favourite Zara has been the biggest culprit in ripping off designs straight off the run-away and in some instances graphics and illustrations off instagram. Yes you heard me!

In India, fashion is a growing industry where designers, merchandisers, curators, stylists, bloggers & reviewers are mushrooming, quite literally.

By the virtue of two domains that I work in, I have been fortunate enough to encounter hundreds of designers, stylist, curators, bloggers and reviewers by now. What perplexes me the most is that most of the ideas, designs, details and thoughts are borrowed, copied or infringed…

However, each claims to be original.

I sit back and smirk.

One look at the digital platforms can give away the truth – Instagram timelines don’t lie.

Colour palettes, cuts, silhouettes and even motifs are copied to death.

No wonder one sees a rush of anti fit silhouettes in ivory tones. Add in a little bit of grey stripes or fuse in some checkered blush pink tones. Grey, ivory and dull red tones are the darling daughters of the slow fashion promoters. At a recent exhibition, I saw many sustainable fashion apparels from different designers. Most of them fell in the same bracket of designing; the irony was while all claimed they were different and exclusive, each was just a repeat copy paste.

I guarantee that no one can differentiate between these brand aesthetics if you remove their labels. They all fall in the same design philosophy.

As far as fabric is concerned, the sustainable brigade procures it from select craft and textile clusters in the country. The sources are same, buyers are different. To reduce the product development cycle, best practices and tested designs are used with minor tweak in colour palette. End result thus is the similar fabric tweaked a bit, almost duplicate design but a brand new label claiming to be different than others…

Leave alone apparels, even the photography style, frames and fonts are ditto same. Photographers have been copying the same compositions from the leaders in the field whereas bloggers have been ripping off blog formats, style and writing pattern based on the popularity of the others.

Adding to this jamboree are the Curators. I have met more curators than designers in past one year. Any socialite who can bring together 5 designers under one roof becomes a fashion and style curator. I think the word ‘curation’ should be checked off the Oxford dictionary soonest.

Looking at the current scenario, one thinks of  a pertinent ethical and moral question.

Who is copying whom?

How can designers/ photographers/curators/bloggers insist on the authenticity while they have been copying?

 Why does a consumer pay premium for a plagiarized product?

 Where does one draw a line between inspiration and plagiarism?

Most creative people will argue that they follow other artists for inspiration. It is a part of creative exposure and personal style building – be it designer, photographer, blogger or writer. I agree, influence is necessary to build up thought processes.

I understand not the art, but its expression is what differentiates one from other. But what if these forms of expression are same?

Under the garb of exposure and learning, when does inspiration become too close for comfort is a million dollar question..

Thin moral line it is then, isn’t it?

In case you would love to read up on cases in plagiarism in Fashion industry, here are few links :

5 Times Fashion Plagiarism Got Called Out In 2014

Plagiarism is by-product of fashion industry: Anita Dongre

Look who copied Rohit Bal’s design, and got shamed on Facebook for it

Fashion brand Zara accused of copying LA artist’s designs