Fashion and Lifestyle

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The trend of low waist jeans; a fashion statement or degradation of our cultural values?

Can fashion and morals ever go hand-in-hand? Yes and No.

It depends on the perspective with which we are looking at things. YES ,because if we are thinking from the point of view of a supporter of Indian culture and one who cherishes Indian traditions, then even a plain saree can make a fashion-statement and yet uphold the moral ethics according to Indian culture. NO, because if we think like the western world with the thought that Indian traditional and cultural practice have gone out of date as per current  fashion sense, then there is no fashion statement that can be made confined within the restrictions of Indian moral ethics.

An interesting issue and an intriguing topic of debate can be the trend of wearing low-waist jeans, in Indian context. Is it a fashion statement? A statement made by those bold and daring, or simply a matter of feeling comfort with one’s dressing?

On the other side, it blindly aping the West?

is A loosening of our moral values, degradation of our traditional dressing sense, an act of obscenity?

The views fly thick and fast and it becomes difficult to take one particular side. And again what is immoral and unethical depends on the way, we are thinking. In Indian context, from Indian perspective, it seems immoral at first look. After all, western wear and jeans were never a part of Indian tradition, forget about wearing them low-waist. Sounds good, but these lines are spoken to a typical metro dude(or a metro-city lady), their reaction to the speaker will be as if the speaker is still living in the rural India of the bygone era, or  the speaker can be even be considered as a unwarranted preacher of moral and ethical values.

The moot point is that India in due course of social and economic development, is witnessing modernity. The western influence is increasing rapidly and it applies to even dressing sense. The deeper problem is the varying mindset of the Indian youth and elderly-a sort of generation gap. While the youth thinks that such trends are OK and an act of showing one’s freedom of expression and boldness, the elderly see it against and a threat to classical Indian dressing sense.

Of course if we compare this trend to traditional Indian practice of wearing khadi-made kurtas, it seems obscene, but is this comparison needed in the first place? And there is the issue of, to what extent can western influence in the veil of modernity be tolerated. A traditionalist will say that the trend can even get more obscene and have further cascading repercussions not only in field of dressing but also in our social behavior and practices.

Where to draw the limiting line?

In my view, fashion varies from person to person, from culture to culture and from civilization to civilization. One trend can be ridiculed as obscene at one place and be adored as a bold, confident act at some other place. We have to observe each trend, and see if can be embedded as a part of our culture, does it corrupt our culture or adds more to it. Some flexibility can be shown… but as it said-‘horses for courses’, one should consider a trend fashionable or not depending on cultural sentiments of the people and the place where the fashion-statement is to be exhibited.

There is no doubt that the low-waist jeans are here to stay and it seems nearly impossible to refrain the metro dudes and girls from wearing them.

Can anything be done by traditionalist against it? (we can’t use legislative policies for issues like dressing and fashion!)

My suggestion- Introduce a modernized version of traditional Indian costume that exceed the low waist jeans in popularity charts. This no doubt will be a tough challenge for fashion designers. But this seems to be a good way out.

After all , to shorten a line, we can always draw a longer line!

Rohit Kumar Singh

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