Going Glocal

Often suited-up, when an Elon Musk or Mark Zuckerberg display their fashion sense by picking up clothes which embrace local culture, they are making a bold, stylish fashion statement

They are the men with brains, billions, and what not. But they are equally good with fashion as well.

When SpaceX CEO Musk arrived in Bali wearing his ‘batik’ shirt, he stunned everyone. Made in a tiny Central Sulawesi village, this was the second time he wore it, the first being in 2022. He called it awesome. Similarly, earlier this year, Mark Zuckerberg wore a Rahul Mishra print shirt for Anant Ambani’s pre-wedding celebrations.

With the batik and Rahul Mishra prints, the super honchos not only sent across the message that they embrace local culture, it also displayed their fashion sense, away from their typical suit-tie or black t-shirts during business trips or glittery company events.

Hyderabad-based designer Gaurang Shah is someone who has seen firsthand how culture and local resources weave timeless textiles one yearns to own. He likens it to a conversation between the region, the artisans, and their creative spirit.

“Think of it like this: in India, we have a vibrant history of using silk and cotton, often woven into intricate patterns like Jamdani. But it’s not just about the materials themselves; it’s about the stories they tell. The delicate handwork and intricate designs speak to our appreciation for craftsmanship and beauty,” says Gaurang.

But the story doesn’t end there. “Culture is constantly evolving, and so are our textiles. We’re seeing exciting fusions happening, where traditional weaves like Jamdani are being reimagined with new yarns, natural dyes, and even inventive techniques. It’s like taking a beloved heirloom and giving it a contemporary twist.”

For example, Gaurang has been experimenting with weaving different yarns together in his Jamdani weaves, creating a fabric that's both luxurious and breathable. “I’ve also been exploring natural dyes extracted from plants and flowers, adding vibrant colours that are both mesmerising and sustainable. It’s a thrilling time to be working in textiles,” smiles the designer.

Documenting lives in an aesthetic fashion

Artist and fashion designer Venkat Gaddam loves the way fashion has become such an integral part of our daily lives.

“Whether it is the way we travel, lounge, or work, I see both men and women equally have a keen interest in the materials used, the finishing, and how they would stand out in their whereabouts,” he says. Venkat says people live fabulous lives today because they love to document their lives in an aesthetic fashion, and it’s refreshing to see men embrace and refine themselves through these choices. “I love seeing our quirky wearable art designs spotted on Orry, as well as Shahid Kapoor, Rajkumar Rao, or Jaideep Ahlawat. I love the influence of different cultures on fabrics throughout time.”

Unique textiles add depth and authenticity to contemporary styles, he feels. “This cultural diversity enriches fashion, blending heritage with modern innovation and fostering a global appreciation for traditional craftsmanship,” adds Venkat.

deliberate acts of cultural homage

Shubh Goyal, creative director, Fierce London, says these fashion choices are not mere deviations from their usual attire but deliberate acts of cultural homage and aesthetic innovation. “They illustrate a powerful narrative—tthat the pinnacle of fashion is not merely about adhering to established norms but about celebrating diversity and craftsmanship with the same fervour one applies to technological advancement.”

In the world of luxury fashion, says Shubh, where exclusivity and distinction reign supreme, the incorporation of traditional prints and artisanal techniques by figures of such influence sets a commanding precedent.

We’re not just preserving our heritage; we're building on it, creating something new and exciting that reflects the vibrant legacy of our culture and the versatility of Jamdani,” — Gaurang Shah

This cultural diversity enriches fashion, blending heritage with modern innovation and fostering a global appreciation for traditional craftsmanship — Venkat Gaddam, artist and fashion designer

It encourages a discerning audience to delve beyond conventional high fashion and to appreciate the profound beauty of the culture and the handmade. — Shubh Goyal, creative director, Fierce London

( Source : Deccan Chronicle )
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