Fashion in DU

Paulo Coelho aptly said, “Ever since groups of men and women first started living together in caves, fashion has been the only language everyone can understand, even complete strangers. It is a way of saying: I belong to your world. I’m wearing the same uniform as your army, so don’t shoot.”

There’s no doubt about it but fashion does create and nurture different groups and hierarchies of people who are more comfortable within their own clan and hesitate to mix with others.

Apparently, the biggest victims of fashion are college students. They keep a regular check on what is ‘in’ and upgrade their wardrobes regularly. Every generation, every decade and every college-batch have set their own fashion statement with different styles and trends. Often, people from one generation or decade mock the fashion sense of another. For example, in the 1970s, bell-bottoms were the coolest things. Then they became very common in the 1990s. But today, anyone wearing bell-bottoms faces mockery and scornful looks!

Thousands of students enter Delhi University every year and introduce fresh styles. Though there isn’t any defined protocol and style for a DU student, certain generalizations can be made. For example, Lady Shri Ram college (LSR) is identified by the ethnic look; Stephenians usually sport earthen shades and designer clothes; Miranda House is associated with the urban chic look; JMC with short shorts and big bags… and the list goes on.

The freshers who enter DU (and are lovingly called fachhas) bring in a lot of colour and variety every year. Suddenly liberated from the grasp of  boring school uniforms, they try their best to express their individuality. While some set the trend for the entire year, some end up being labeled ‘wannabees’.  And then there are still others who just don’t bother about such trivial issues. Nevertheless, the fachhas try to look their best in order to make a mark in their new world through their style.

The session of  2009-2010 saw a lot of new trends and a multitude of bright colours. Narrow stretchable jeans, which were a fad among only girls until 2008,become very popular among guys also. Men experimented with a lot of colours like shades of pink and red throughout the year. The retro look of the seventies came back to the campus with some modifications – big goggles, big chunky accessories, long tops paired with slacks, hair bands and flat shoes – dominated the female fashion scene.

Big purses and huge tote bags were very much in vogue and are still available in all colours and textures. They are still popular specifically because of their huge size as girls can put everything in it – books, makeup, bottles, etc – without compromising on the style quotient! In the footwear category, high heels gave way to the more comfortable ballet slippers and flat sandals as they could be teamed up with any type of clothing – dresses, jeans or shorts and come at affordable prices. Canvas shoes continued to be popular and black ones with bright laces were seen around more.

Another rage that was very prominent on the DU campus in 2009-2010 was the evolving nature of shorts. Initially they kept on getting shorter. Then after Katrina Kaif’s movie, New York, the trend of knee length check shorts dominated for a few months. Then when this became common, girls went for funky shorts in myriad colours like pink and yellow. The male fashion scene was influenced by Ranbir Kapoor’s movie, Wake Up Sid – short colourful tees with a quirky message or a cartoon, canvas shoes and narrow fit jeans. Overall it was a fashionable year, innovative but influenced by Bollywood to a great extent.

Like every year, this year  when the colleges reopen in July, some trends will continue while some others will fade away. Colourful funky shorts, tote bags, flat slippers, narrow-fit jeans and funky tees are here to stay. The girls will probably go for layered skirts in bright colours this year. Checks will soon go out of fashion and will be replaced by shades of blue and lavender. Experiments with denims, like shredded shorts and torn jeans, are expected this year. Canvas shoes might be replaced by the more comfortable slip-ons like Vans. Rayban’s revolutionary Wayfarer sun-glasses will make a come back and digital watches in vibrant colours and designs, like the ones launched by Titan recently, will be seen.

This or that – fashion in DU changes with every new batch. But some things remain the same and while following fashion trends, the students must first consider their comfort. It’s all about ‘loving the skin you are in’. Some people might worship fashion, but DU students are different. They follow the trends which they want to and discard others.
Comfort is the most necessary thing and that’s the way it should be.

Mahima Taneja