Is Indian fashion taking a feminist stand?
We live in a society where we are bombarded with visuals of fair skinned, tall, thin women who define what ‘beautiful’ means. Whether it’s advertising or fashion, they all conform to the norms of beauty that have been considered acceptable since ages. However, there seems to be a shift in attitudes, slowly, but surely.
This year at the Lakme Fashion Week in April, designer Gaurang Shah choose supermodel Carol Gracias became the centre of attention as she walked the ramp for designer Gaurav Narang, displaying her baby bump proudly in a traditional drape, with all the grace and pride of a mom-to-be. This became a historical moment in fashion history of India, as never had a pregnant model walked the ramp before.
Women in India are expected to wear shapeless clothes when expecting a child, it is a taboo and a strict no-no to be flaunting their bellies in public, but the moment Carol walked the ramp she empowered women to get conformable in their own skin and enjoy all attributes of womanhood.
Another bitter truth about our fashion industry is the fact that one would rarely see a plus-seized actress as a model. But to everyone’s pleasant surprise this year at the Lakme Fashion Week a category named “Size No bar” was launched and we saw comedian Bharti Singh walking out in style in a short dress which proved beyond doubt that that style is not restricted to a single body size. Bharti walking the ramp is a sign of hope for plus size women all over India. It sends a message that you can be stylish at any size and being fat and fashionable are not mutually exclusive. For a country that has over 60% of its population as plus size, to ignore their existence and needs is not only discriminatory but downright fool hardy from a business standpoint too. As such , this was a great step towards body positivity and diversity.
Another first that took place was when transgender female activist Laxmi Narayan Tripathi walked the ramp, again at the Lakme Fashion Week. Globally, we have seen transgender female models like Laverne Cox and Caitlyn Jenner being accepted by the mainstream media and fashion industry. But when Tripathi walked the ramp with the words ‘Gender No Bar’ flashing behind it was the sign of changing times and broadening horizons.
From the looks of it we can see that this years Lakme Fashion Week Summer was a delight to watch where Indian designers took a Feminist Stand and broke away from traditions to welcome a changing India.
Feature image credit: ca.linkedin.com