We were prepared very thoroughly for this trip with multiple orientations leading up to our departure for India. From popular media and pictures, I had my preconceived idea of what India would be like. During our second orientation meeting, we were asked what the first word is that comes to your mind when you think of India. For me the answer came right away: colorful.
I have become known amongst my friends for having the wardrobe with the most amount of bright colors. I can’t help it though, my eyes are always drawn to the brightest colors or most elaborate patterns. So when I thought more about the Indian garb I would see during the trip, I was ecstatic. I had this picture in my head of women wearing red and green saris, embroidered with gold thread in elaborate patterns. And while I figured that this preconceived idea was probably not quite what I would see, I still let it foster in my head while I anxiously awaited my arrival in India.
On our first day in India, we went to Fabindia where we were instructed to buy two salwar kameezes, a very popular Indian style of dress that consists of a tunic that goes down to your knees, loose fitting pants, and a scarf to wear around the top. It was at this point that I realized my perception of India being filled with colorful, elaborate outfits was true. I spent the next hour exploring the elaborate patterns and unique designs that embodied each of the salwar kameezes.
Seeing the clothes in India has introduced me to a new sense of fashion and a new sense of beauty that can be found through clothing.
What intrigues me most about Indian clothing is that the true beauty of it stems from the aesthetic of the actual design and color of the material as opposed to the body it is on. Rather than first noticing the way the clothes flatter a certain body type, we are more attuned to the beauty of the material regardless of who is wearing it. I find myself thinking what a beautiful way the differing designs of the kameez and the scarf compliment each other or how the opposing vibrant color of the pants perfectly brings out the complimentary color on the kameez. Seeing the clothes in India has introduced me to a new sense of fashion and a new sense of beauty that can be found through clothing.
Style is a huge part of many cultures, but I have never experienced one quite as unique as I have seen in India. Whether walking around the school, the Lotus Temple, or the Taj Mahal I continue to be captivated by the bright colors and unique designs that cloak the ladies of India. Each sari or salwar kameez seems different from the rest, each one prettier than the last.