Combining your cultural heritage with your fashion isn’t necessarily a bad idea
Growing up in the west as a young Asian can at times be challenging to say the least. Being faced by an identity crisis is something that has happened to the best of us, at the worst of times.
From being the only Asian person in a group full of white friends, to partaking in seemingly dubious activities that are frowned upon by family for not being quintessentially ‘Desi’.
Or even having a dress sense that is too ‘modern’. The list goes on.
Many young British Asian girls and guys face the same predicament. Either stick to the Desi status quo and endure the painful experience of being silently judged by your non-Asian friends.
Or fit in with your friends and become the talk of every upcoming family event from now until you’re 90.
So, the question is what do you do? Here’s some food for thought: Combining your cultural heritage with your fashion sense isn’t necessarily a bad idea.
In fact, having a dual identity is a privilege. One that should be embraced rather than viewed as something of a crisis. After all, the vibrancy of our heritage is one that is afforded to few.
From our delectable cuisine to our effervescent fashion and fascinatingly extravagant weddings, our culture is one that has mesmerised and inspired the world over.
Those who are fortunate enough to boast it should do so at every opportunity, in all aspects of their lives – including their sense of style.
More and more South Asian designers are seen to be incorporating an enmeshed bond of east meets west into their designs catering to the western Asian youths of the modern era.
The end result is a sophisticated western twist on conventionally classic South Asian couture. This appeals to both the traditional and contemporary audiences alike.
What is seen on the catwalks are impeccably-conceived ensembles that can be worn just as easily on the style-savvy streets of London to the culturally-rich locales of Lahore. From the cosmopolitan corners of New York to the bustling backdrop of New Delhi.
Here are just a few of the finest fashion designers from India and Pakistan who have so beautifully and elegantly embodied the east meets west fusion into their designs.
Tarun Tahiliani has so beautifully captured traditional aesthetics with contemporary western design by combining the waistcoat and blazer jacket with authentic baggy ‘shalwar’.
Continuing the theme of the loose-fitted trouser, Zaheer Abbas has maintained cultural authenticity with golden embellishments – adding a Desi tinge to an artistically European style.
An amalgamation of boho-chic with Desi prints, Anita Dongre has recognised Western trends whilst preserving the Desi essence in her designs.
A traditional take on an iconic ‘All Saints’ style with loose, layered and breathable fabrics, Antar-Agni have encapsulated decadent and distressed glamour whilst maintaining vintage Desi details.
Mrinalini’s eclectic design concept can be described as a cultural channel between East and West. It brilliantly encompasses the philosophy of ‘less is more’ through earthly tones and layered fabric.
Wardha Saleem continues to uphold the fusion of sub-continental influences by using minimal embroidery and vibrant digital prints.
Shantanu and Nikhil
Fulfilling the perfect blend of contemporary with vintage, Shantanu and Nikhil’s carefree experimentation with European silhouettes mixed with traditional influence create a classic look with timeless appeal.
Undoubtedly, changing with the times are the fashion trends.
Gone are the days when South Asian fashion was designed purely with family functions, religious celebrations and weddings in mind. No longer are our cultural identities boxed away never to mix with any other part of our lives.
Walking into a room full of strangers, your sense of style should introduce you before you utter a word. So become immersed in all aspects of your culture with pride.
Do not be afraid to state it to the world through your fashion and let these designers inspire you to make that statement. In turn, kindle a spark in others to do the same.