Evolution of Indian Fashion Throughout the Centuries

From salwar kameez to palazzo to high street fashion, Indian fashion has evolved by leaps and bounds. Fashion, in general, is all about style and elegance, which is continuously advancing with the country's social and political development. The West first started to document fashionable practices around 1500, though it was a Royalty-oriented culture at that point in time until royalty became obsolete due to democracy becoming more widespread amongst commoners (with some exceptions).

The people of India have been wearing clothing for centuries, and it is still a popular form in which to express one's identity. However there haven't been any drastic changes or innovations because most Indian cultures hold traditional beliefs that dictate how individuals should dress. It’s interesting to see what improvisations can happen when you combine tradition with fashion.

The evolution of Indian fashion is a fascinating story that goes back centuries. The ancient people who first developed this art were the Harappa and Mohenjadaro civilizations, which existed during 500-300 BC. However it wasn't until much later when we start seeing records about how innovative they actually were for their time! For example: They made clothes out entirely from fabric dyed with natural plant dyes like indigo (which requires very specific conditions). This blog will take you through the evolution of Indian fashion through the ages:

Ancient Civilisation:

From the saree to the dhoti and turban, clothing in ancient India comprised of just cloth wrapped around various parts of the body. During the Aryan period, women wore a single long piece of cloth wrapped around their bodies called the saree/ sari, which was around five to nine meters in length. Sarees were first seen around the Vedic period, which is roughly around 600 BC. The way a woman wore her saree indicated not only the fabric she chose but also society and the geography that they were from. Women from lower classes would wear cotton, while those of higher rankings would be dressed in silk and have intricate designs woven onto their garment.

Mughal Empire:

By the 2nd century AD, the muslin clothes produced in the southern part of India were exported to other parts of the world, including the Roman Empire. The muslin cloth was one of the majorly used cloths in the attire of Mughals. The tradition of stitched and tailored garments goes back to the 10th century, which prospered during the Mughal reign. Women during these times wore a long dress that went below the knees paired with either churidar or salwar. During this era, silk began to be incorporated into clothing as intricate details and prints became popular on luxurious fabrics like those found in
sherwanis. However fashion was not something shared by all; only those who could afford such luxuries would wear these new fashions which led them away from more traditional styles.

British Raj:

The Raj brought about the introduction and popularization of "British" fashion styles like skirts, trousers , blouses and more, which were seen most often among government office workers during this time period due largely in part from them having be required by their work attire! The adoption of western wear by members within high-ranking society was still seen as a symbol for class and cast during this time. The introduction to Khadi cloth also came about in these years, which would eventually lead India's independence from British rule. The handwoven cotton cloth Khadi was a symbol of Indian independence and self-sufficiency. The goal was to decrease India’s reliance on British-made goods and gradually wean them off it.


The Indian economy was still recovering from the impacts of colonial rule decades after independence. With many people in cities and on educated levels preferring Western clothing styles, European fashion lived on as well but not nearly to its former glory days before World War II. But with an edge that could not be matched anywhere else but India!

Influence of Bollywood:

The film industry is one of the greatest turning points in Indian fashion. As color cinema became more popular during 1950s, people started getting inspired by exclusive Indian outfits worn exclusively for these films and by the film stars The 60s were defined by heavy chunky ornaments and embroidered sarees, whereas the 70s was a time of bright colors, polka dots, and bell bottoms. The 80s was the era of disco, and Indian fashion during this era leaned more towards glittery apparel in gold or silver, chiffon sarees in various colors, and denim and leather jackets.

The next decade the rise of floral dresses, full- sleeved salwar kameez and long skirts. It also brought in short dresses with sportswear crop tops or halter necklines that were incorporated into traditional Indian wear such as wearing a saree alongside an open blouse worn over it so you could cool down from all those hot Indian summers.

In 2000, there was a dynamic shift in how Indian women dressed. Clothing choices made by leading actresses became bolder and more sensual. The salwar kameez which was once a traditional Indian outfit also underwent a change. This time around it's transforming into something more modern kurtis or tunics. The designer sari blouses also saw a shift into : halter-neck, back-button, halter-neck, puffed sleeves, and princess cut were some popular blouse styles during this time. The Gujarat style of sarees was the most worn in that time. Most of the Indian designer clothes in USA also follow these blouse and saree trends event today.

Modern Indian Fashion:

The new trend in Indian outfit making? You guessed it! A mix between traditional culture with Western styles-- called "fusion". Modern Indian fashion beautifully combines Indian and western concepts to create exclusive Indian outfits. Fusion wear is gaining a lot of popularity with the introduction of long maxi dresses, cold-shoulder Kurtis, crop-top designer saree blouses, tunics, and spaghetti-strap Kurtis.

Indian fashion is a fascinating study in the winding paths that culture can take. Although India has been influenced by Westerners for centuries, it still managed to preserve its traditional attire even after being ruled by British rule for so long - witness how many aspects of Indian dress were borrowings from both east and west during this time! Today's
styles also incorporate elements uniquely Indian while borrowing bits here & there to create the best Indian designer clothes in USA.

The fashion industry in present-day India is quite lucrative in terms of scope and variety. The present day Indian woman enjoys an array if choices when it comes to dress codes which can be anything from Western outfits for work or formal occasions alongside her own personal style icons such as Kurtis worn over Jeans. In addition, Indian women still prefer wearing salwar kameez and saree daily which has led to their continued popularity in traditional clothing.