Blog /Evolution of Apparel in India

Evolution of Apparel in India

For centuries, India has been dressing its men in dhotis, chudidar-pyjamas, and padgis and its women in traditional sarees from Kanchipuram, Mysore and Banaras. India’s fashion industry took a big turn from the British Raj times, and has been in state of constant flux till today.

The British Raj Times

The Brits brought their industrial cloth to the country, out of which Khadi was developed. This material was used widely in making sherwanis, a mix of the old British frock-coat and achkan, the knee-length jacket. As European fashion trends creeped into India, men started to don sports shirts for casual wear that resembles Derby’s Polo T-shirt Collection. and the women, albeit still traditional, started exploring cholis with their sarees.

The Roaring Twenties

The ‘Modern Era’ of Indian fashion came in the 1920s, when men, specifically from educated upper classes rocked traditional white suits with hunter hats and women finally became bold with skirts and trousers. For the traditionally-minded, sarees with mid and long-sleeve blouses came to the rescue. The cholis became glamorous with shimmering and glittery designs that looked like Charleston dresses from the western world.

The Troubled Thirties

Further influenced by the western world, Indian fashion changed in the 1930s after The Great Depression. Suits for men had loops for belts and shirts came with a variety of colours, like those made by Derby and wonderfully imagined by Mr. Vijay Kapoor, the company’s managing director. These two-piece suits had long collars and were matched with thick ties that lay in between two suspenders. For women, silk sarees came into the fore with blouses that had padded shoulders.

The Refashioning Eighties and Nineties

Indian clothing changed drastically in the 1980s with the gargantuan outbreak of denim. Derby’s denim jackets were inspired by discotheque fashion during these years. Many women also entered into the Indian workforce and started sporting jeans. The length of the salwar kameez became shorter and more towards the knees. As we entered into the 1990s, long skirts, floral dresses, trendy jeans, full-sleeve salwar kameez and bold dungarees came into the marketplace. It was during the mid-90s that trend-settling fashion houses like Derby were founded.

The Burgeoning 21st Century

A rapid transformation from conservative to bold clothing was the highlight of the birth of the new millenium. Women started wearing pants, short dresses, skirts of varying sizes, puffed-sleeve blouses and even biker jackets. Men stocked up on chequered shirts, slim-fit trousers and an assortment of denim jeans, like those offered by Derby.

Nowadays, the market is driven by branded wear like Derby. Teenagers and college-goers thrive on high-quality, long-lasting clothing that they feel comfortable in. Fashion cycles have become much shorter than those just a few decades back. Mr. Vijay Kapoor explains that Derby launches a new collection every 60 days and doesn’t really follow a seasonal cycle. Fusion wear is also trending these days like cold-shoulder tops, collared maxis and sleeveless lehengas for women and chinese collar shirts and chino shorts for men. If there is one apparel that is sure to withstand the changing fashion tides - it’s denim, making denim houses like Derby a go-to place to shop.