How to dress for an Indian autumn
As the season changes, Lounge speaks to designers about what you can wear to fashionably mark the shift
Globally, autumn ushers in new styles. In India, however, September marks the beginning of the festive and wedding seasons and the fashion cycle is aligned to this rather than the global fashion calendar.
According to designer Suket Dhir, “The Indian fashion cycle is more interesting than the way the West tries to compartmentalize it by seasonal collections. Our lifestyles are married to tradition and nature."
Designer Arjun Saluja believes there may be two reasons why Indian designers don’t follow global autumnal trends: the weather and the season’s festivities. “We have different weather patterns in different regions. In certain parts of India, the way autumn/winter are perceived around the world doesn’t apply. The season is also very festival-driven, which takes precedence over what would seasonally be in fashion right now."
Designer Aneeth Arora of péro, who specializes in interpreting global aesthetics through local techniques, says people dress more for occasions than for themselves. “People are more willing to spend on clothes when others can see them, which isn’t the case with autumn or winter-wear in the West, which also serve functional and protective purposes."
So, what can we look forward to? Apart from the usual occasion-wear choices, Dhir finds that the season (and pandemic) have made non-occasion-wear styles popular again: the blazer paired with shorts, pyjamas (two things Dhir has been working with actively for the last few seasons) and the use of fabrics such as handloom cotton and mulmul. Dhir designs clothes to be season-agnostic as well as occasion-appropriate.
Saluja, like Dhir, notes that the shift to spending more time at home is demanding greater versatility from fashion. “People should be able to wear comfortable clothes in any situation. The ease and utility factor of the clothes is very important today," he says. Saluja’s clothes look effortlessly loose but have been meticulously tailored to achieve that effect. There’s a lot of voluminousness.
Saluja and Arora both believe that this phase has ushered in an era of individualism. “We have now realized that we are learning to dress for ourselves, without being conscious about dressing for others," says Arora, adding that it’s the perfect time for layering with lighter overcoats and overlays. Both Dhir and Arora see a move tobrighter colours and prints, which is inverse to the dark colours that are popular for autumn/winter collections globally.
Lounge lists some more trends to look for this season.