As the last figure disappeared into the darkest depth Brandishing his turban’s trail. A war cry resounded against the garden’s weathered walls. A most valiant brand of men, lay resurrected in spirit of a nation that readied itself to wreck its shackles; Readied itself for the glory, the upheaval for
It’s time again for FRIDAY FASHION FACT! A little
while ago, I spoke about one of my favorite things- pajamas (read here).
Coming in a close second on my list of most awesome things, as I’m sure
many of you will agree, is lounge wear. Nowadays that typically means
sweats or yoga pants (which I’m definitely not wearing right now, I
don’t know what you’re talking about!) but in the 18th century, it was
all about banyans!
What is a banyan? Short answer: it was a
(typically silk) men’s robe. Longer answer? It was the first common
form of lounge wear in Western societies. The style was derived from the
robes worn by the upper class in the West Indies, as well as kimonos,
Turkish robes, and other forms of Eastern dress. Colonists adopted the
style and brought it back to England and France. While in the hot
climates of the East, banyans were made out of lightweight cottons, in
the West they were created out of rich silk brocades. In the comfort of
their own homes, men would wear these loose garments over their shirts
and breeches in lieu of their restrictive, tailored coats and
waistcoats. They often paired the garments with Turkish inspired
Also known as a morning robe or robe de chambre,
banyans became very symbolic for the upper class. It was only men of a
certain means who would have the luxury of lounging about their home,
not to mention having the ability to purchase such a frivolous garment.
It also came to be associated with educated men, similar to academic
robes. These learned men were “too busy” focusing on their studies to be
bothered with fashion. It is because of these associations that posing
in banyans became a popular theme in 18th century portraiture.
the 19th century, various styles of banyans had been developed,
including one that was quite structured, sort of going against it’s
original intention. They were often made with matching waistcoats, for a
more complete ensemble. Women naturally drew inspiration from banyans,
creating their own forms of lounge wear. That, however, is a topic for
Have a question about fashion history that you
want answered in the next FRIDAY FASHION FACT? Just click the ASK
button at the top of the page!
So Coldplay’s new video for “Hymn for the Weekend” is set in Mumbai and it features a wonderfully vibrant city full of color, laughter and happiness on the day of Holi (the festival of colors). Beyonce wears Indian-inspired clothing designed by an Indian who wanted to depict India in a fun and different way. And you can tell that people commenting on YouTube know nothing about cultural appropriation. Me and my Indian friends loved this video. Hundreds of Indians loved this video. And yet, people are accusing them of cultural appropriation when the truth is, the video shows Mumbai in a fantastic way, portraying the vigor and life of Indian cities without stereotypes. It was a video about Holi, and all the elements were there: temples, colors, fireworks, mythical plays, oil lamps.
This is not cultural appropriation. This is not wearing a bindi cuz “it’s cool”. This is Beyonce wearing Indian-inspired fashion designed by an Indian designer in a video where she is herself in a movie called Rani (Queen). This is wonderful! It shows my country in a beautiful light, it shows Western singers and actresses actually respecting my culture, my fashion, my festivals, and being a part of it with assistance from Indian people themselves. This did not whitewash locals, or stereotype them into Mumbai slums. This portrayed all the brilliant and beautiful things that you see during times of festivities around India. Please, please stop acting as if you think it offends us when it doesn’t. And if it does offend some people, I’m extremely sorry. You must have your own valid reasons, but in this case I believe it’s a personal thing. However, please don’t speak “for the majority of Indians” because so many of us do like it and believe it’s a celebration of authentic Indian culture during Holi. Stop trying to force social justice on everything, especially when for a change India is represented in an authentic and non-Hollywood manner when it’s never portrayed well. I understand that she is not a part of my culture, but I believe in this case, it’s more appreciation than appropriation.