Going back to the roots – Ethnically inspired fabrics

Be ethnic, be fabulous!

Fashion industry has always had a soft corner for its culturally inspired couture. The wrapped turbans, Egyptian bracelets, bold African prints, Boho skirts and even the Indian Sari have time and again made the cut to walk on the runway in a reimagined and dreamy avatar. Designers all over have gone back to the cultural roots for inspiration and the outcomes have been magnificent. The beautiful ensembles influenced by the tribal vibrant colors, bold prints, gorgeous materials and European traditional costumes are loved by women all over.


Valentino – Spring 2015

Inspired Designers

Ethnic imprints on clothes is not a new phenomenon. The trend’s been around for ages. Over the years, it keeps surfacing in different styles and trends. Designers like Yves Saint Laurent, Christopher Kane and Paul smith have all drawn their inspiration from the Orient and Africa. While Yves Saint Laurent’s Safari Jumpsuits made a huge splash when they first entered the fashion scene, tribal themes using animal prints have since then become more prevalent. Christopher Kane made use of animal prints on the tops and skirts in earthy tones with geometric shapes. Designers like Paul Smith and Max Azria have often used sheer fabrics of neutral tones and Egyptian style drapery. Even the Kaftans of Gucci and Reem Arca have a majestic allure that reminds one of Cleopatra. Ralph Lauren and Lacoste have worked with jump suits in safari styles on and off too.


Manish Arora – Spring 2013


Oscar de la Renta – Spring 2008

Mass fashion

This trend has now found its way on to mass fashion.  On any fashion street, you are sure to find scarves, skirts, bags and a range of accessories labeled ‘Ethnic’ which claim to be based on the indigenous cultures. Brands like Zara, H&M, Free People and others have all had lines of clothing which were influenced by the one or more of the tribal and ethnic cultures around the world.

free people

Free People

Ethical Implications

Though the thought of using the nuances of any culture to create something magical seems wholesome, there’ve been instances when this idea hasn’t worked. The hipster panties printed with Native American pattern, the Aboriginal-inspired prints of Rodarte’s fall line in 2012 are just a few examples when designers have gone horribly wrong in their appropriation of ethnicity.

If the designers draw out their inspiration and use it responsibly, the result is not just a tribute to their skill but also a testament to the culture’s inherent charm and beauty. Since designers have long been established as the compass for any society’s taste in fashion and taste, they should pay utmost attention not to overstep and disrespect the cultural motifs and inspirations they use.

As long as you pay a little attention to ensure you aren’t unintentionally disrespecting any culture, you’re good to go! So, grab your own ethnically inspired dress and flaunt it. Pair it up with the appropriate jewelry to showcase the rich culture that your top, skirt or dress boasts of.

Be ethnic, be fabulous!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s