“Feminism empowers women by giving them a voice and the freedom to express themselves, and fashion serves as a powerful amplifier of that voice, creating a platform for transformative change.”
What if we tell you that the clothes that you wear carry far more weight than what you can imagine? And that feminism has a lot to do with it?
Through this blog, we aim to shed some light on how feminism and fashion, when combined, have the ability to break stereotypes, redefine beauty standards, and empower women. Our special focus will be on ethnic wear for women, as this is one particular area where fashion has made significant strides in empowering women. But before we talk about this, allow us to give you a brief on what exactly feminism and fashion are.
Feminism at its core, advocates for gender equality and the dismantling of patriarchal structures. It seeks to empower women, allowing them to be seen and heard as equals in all aspects of life. Fashion, on the other hand, can be defined as the style of dressing and is often criticized for perpetuating oppressive beauty standards and objectifying women. However, the intersection of fashion and feminism in women’s ethnic clothing presents a unique opportunity to subvert these norms and create a space where women can express themselves authentically. Its influence extends far beyond the realm of clothing, allowing women to reclaim their cultural heritage, challenge stereotypes, and foster a sense of pride in their identity. Wearing something as simple as ethnic cotton tunics can result in you unconsciously doing these things as it will not only showcase the beauty of Indian craftsmanship but also challenge the dominance of Western style of clothing in the fashion industry.
Now, let us move on to certain ways in which women’s ethnic clothing is making a positive impact on women’s lives.
The first one is how it breaks stereotypes. Our culture has distinct garments such as sarees and ethnic kurta sets that are deeply rooted in tradition and carry significant meaning. Such garments have long been associated with grace and femininity. However, by donning them on public platforms women are demonstrating that they symbolize strength and independence, not submissiveness.
Secondly, ethnic clothing plays a transformative role in redefining beauty standards. More often than not, the definitions of what a beautiful woman looks like and what size she is are governed by Western perspectives. However, ethnic clothing emphasizes the importance of embracing one’s natural body shape and size as traditional outfits such as sarees and salwar kameez are designed in a way that they enhance a woman’s features and highlight her beauty. This, in turn, challenges the long-standing dominance of a limited definition of beauty dictated by Western viewpoints.
Thirdly, it’s the empowerment that comes from embracing ethnic attire that extends beyond the individual and has broader societal implications. Just by wearing ethnic palazzo pants instead of trousers or cotton kurtas instead of summer tops, women become walking embodiments of cultural diversity. They challenge the homogeneity that often plagues the fashion industry and highlight the beauty of various cultures. In doing so, they also inspire others to celebrate their cultural heritage and foster a sense of unity in diversity.
Apart from these aspects, ethnic clothing also acts as a tool in resisting cultural assimilation. In a world that is becoming increasingly homogenized, where global fashion trends dominate, wearing traditional garments or ones with traditional designs such as ethnic tops for women becomes a tool in cultural retention. It becomes a way for women to honour their ancestors, preserve their heritage, and resist the pressures of assimilation. By embracing their ethnic attire, women are asserting their right to be proud of their cultural identity, forging a path towards a more inclusive and diverse society.
While we are at it, we would also like to highlight the crucial role played by fashion designers and brands like Lakshita in empowering women through ethnic attire. By incorporating traditional elements into their designs and experimenting with traditional garments like ethnic bottom wear, they contribute to the visibility and acceptance of ethnic wear for women. They send a powerful message that cultural diversity is not just something to be tolerated but celebrated. This inclusivity allows women from different backgrounds to feel represented and valued, fostering a more inclusive and empowering fashion industry.
To sum up, it can be said that the way fashion intersects with feminism in ethnic clothing really does serve as a means of bringing about a positive change. It gives women a powerful platform to embrace and celebrate their cultural heritage, and when women proudly wear their ethnic tops and kurtas, they are doing their bit to make this society a better place to live in.
So the next time you are wondering what difference you can make by wearing ethnic cotton wear for women instead of your cotton summer dresses, keep all the points discussed above in mind. And do remember that the objective of this blog is not to stop you from buying and wearing Western clothes, but only to make sure that you don’t let go of the traditional clothing passed down through generations and the impact they have.