History of Fashion in India

The history of fashion in India is one of beauty and color. Nothing compares to its casual elegance. It personifies the beauty and refinement which has survived countless decades. Apart from being sophisticated and aesthetically pleasing, India’s fashion industry has evolved with the times.

The Fashion Industry of India

We cannot talk about the fashion industry in India without mentioning the amazing transformations over the years, from ethnic to western, down to high-street fashion.

There is no denying that India’s fashion industry has evolved over the years. This fashion industry owes its beauty and sophistication to its rich and colorful tradition.  From wedding fashion to the most casual wear.

India’s fashion industry is probably one of the most elaborate in the world. Traditional Indian embroidery techniques like Zardosi, Chikhan, and Crewel, have gradually found their way onto the global stage, creating a unique Indo-western clothing fusion.

India’s unique blend of sarees, intricately woven in cotton and silk, is evident in its fashion expressions, from Mysore to Jamdani, down to Pithani. Therefore, it is understandable that India’s textile industry is considered one of the largest in its capital goods sector.

India is the second-largest textiles exporter globally, largely because of its fashion industry.

Woman designer sewing fabrics in India

A History of Fashion in India

Cotton was grown in India as far back as 2500 BC, making the country one of the first places to grow it. India’s ancient clothing history can be observed from figurines discovered in sites close to the Indus Valley Civilization, cave paintings, rock carving sculptures, and the human art forms located in monuments and temples.

The images embedded within those writings reveal people with clothes wrapped around their bodies. Traditional Indian clothing items like the saree, turban, and dhoti were tied mainly across the body.

In India, a person’s economic and social status was linked to his dressing. Those in the upper class were dressed in silk and fine muslin dresses, while those in the lower strata wore locally sourced fabrics.

The sarees worn by women from wealthy families were made with silk fabrics from China, while their less buoyant counterparts wore sarees woven from local fabrics. Below is a detailed account of the progression of India’s fashion industry

Primordial Indian Fashion

The Mohenjo Daro civilization (2600 to 1800 BC) was part of the Indus culture and is a prime example of ancient Indian civilization. This particular civilization can be traced to the Mother Goddess statue.

The Mother Goddess statue is a statue of a woman adorned in the most beautiful jewels, with a piece of clothing woven loosely around her waist.

According to ancient Vedic literature, the Phataka from barks and leaves can also be traced to this era. Righ Veda also traces the existence of embroidery and dyed garments to this period in time.

Indians were already selling the muslin apparel they produced to Roman Emperors at this time. Tailored clothing items existed in India before the 10th Century. Some of the most refined fabric-making techniques in existence today can be traced to this era. The effect of ancient Indian civilization on modern-day Indian fashion cannot be overstated. 

Mohenjo-Daro - Indus Valley Civilization in Pakistan
Mohenjo-Daro - Indus Valley Civilization in Pakistan

The Indus Valley Civilization

Fashion in India is as old as time. Evidence of the Harappa Civilization or Indus Valley Civilization indicates the use of finely woven cotton fabric. Plant fibers were obtained from flax plants, while silk was obtained from the cultivation of silkworms.

The men of that era wore long clothing attires which they wrapped around their waist and secured at the back (like close-fitting dhoti). It was customary to see the male figures of this era wear turbans.

Evidence indicates that it was customary amongst members of the high society to wear long robes across their left shoulder as a tribute to their opulence. The women also wore headdresses made from cotton. Women wore knee-length skirts while adorned in beautiful jewelry pieces like earrings, beaded necklaces, and bangles.

During the Indus Valley Civilization, men wore jewelry, evidenced by the figurines obtained during excavations. The dancing girl of Mohenjo-Daro is perhaps the first indication of the now popular Dhokra art. 

Evidence of the existence of textiles during the Indus Valley Civilization can be obtained from preserved pseudomorphs and impressions in clay, while excavated Harappan figures and iconography reveal evidence of clothing. The most popular clothing fibers used in this era include cotton, leather, linen, silk, flax, etc. There is also evidence to show that the Harappan people dyed their clothing items in various colors. 

One major fashion feature of this era is men and women’s obvious love of jewelry. They often adorned themselves in necklaces, rings, anklets, pectorals, bracelets, bangles, and earrings made from gold, copper, silver, and stones like turquoise, quartz, lapis lazuli, and amazonite. The male figurines also reveal that the men loved to dress their hair in elaborate styles. 

View of Indus valley in Himalayas. Ladakh, India
View of green Indus valley from ascend to Kardung La pass - - allegedly the highest motorable pass in the world (5602 m). Ladakh, India

The Gupta Era

Popularly known as India’s golden age, the Gupta era lasted between 320 Ad and 550 AD. The founder of this empire was Chandragupta. The Gupta era is the era that popularized stitched items of clothing. It was also in this era that sewn items were considered evidence of royalty. Other clothing items used during this era include antariya, uttariya, to name a few. 

The Gupta period is known for its cut and sewn fashion items. Privileged people like courtiers and nobles wore a long-sleeved brocade tunic, while the king could often be seen in blue-colored silk antariyas tightly woven, sometimes with block patterns. A plane belt was often used to keep the antariyas tight, and this belt assumed the position of the kayabandh. Ivory was also used to fashion ornaments and jewelry during this era. 

The men in the Gupta period had curly and long hair, popularly called the Gurna Kuntala style. They often decorated their hair with beautiful head coverings. The women, however, adorned their hair with jeweled bands or rosaries. Their hair was often worn in a bun at the top or around the neck, surrounded by beautiful flowers or beaded net (muktajala). 

Ruins of the ancient Buddhist monastery Mahavihara , which was also a leading teaching institution under the Gupta Empire during the 5. and 6. century
Ruins of the ancient Buddhist monastery Mahavihara , which was also a leading teaching institution under the Gupta Empire during the 5. and 6. century

San Francisco

San Francisco was the birthplace of hippie culture in the 1960s and is still a paradise for free spirits.

Take a ferry to Alcatraz Island, once home to some of the most dangerous criminals in the US. Admire the flower gardens on Lombard Street. Stroll along Fisherman’s Wharf with its restaurants and attractions. Or have a picnic in Alamo Square Park, across from the colorful Victorian homes known as the Painted Ladies.

A must-do is crossing the famous Golden Gate Bridge. You can do this on foot, by car or by bike, but you can also view this masterpiece of engineering from the water on a sailing trip across the bay.

The best way to get around the different neighborhoods of San Francisco is to ride the historic cable cars.

San Francisco is known for its cool and windy summer. In fact, the days between September and October are usually warmer and sunnier. But, then, the climate is surprisingly mild and temperate in the winter months. The weather is perfect for exploring, and the numerous seasonal activities and events mean there’s never a dull moment.

Whale spotting on the coast of Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara is considered the most beautiful city in California. The city of about 90,000 inhabitants is known for its typical Spanish-Mexican architecture but also for its high property prices.

Most California cities combine various architectural styles and influences, but Santa Barbara is different. In 1925, the city’s historic center was almost entirely destroyed by an earthquake.

As a nod to Santa Barbara’s Spanish history, the city council decided that reconstruction should be in the Mediterranean Style. The Spanish once ruled here can also be seen in the famous mission stations and churches.

Santa Barbara is especially popular with beach lovers and surfers because of the perfect conditions.

The area is also ideal for whale spotting. Humpback whales and the colossal blue whale use Santa Barbara’s waters as a stopover on their journey to Mexico. With a bit of luck, you can catch a glimpse of the gentle giants on a boat tour.

Foodies get their money’s worth here, too: visit one of the excellent seafood restaurants at Stearns Wharf or the wine tasting rooms. On Sundays, it’s fun to visit the Santa Barbara Arts and Crafts Show, with more than 200 booths selling homemade art. The perfect place to find a keepsake!

San Diego

San Diego is located in Southern California near the border with Mexico and has a pleasant, sunny climate. The laid-back city is known for its beaches like Coronado Beach or Mission Beach.

Sprawling Balboa Park is home to the famous San Diego Zoo and numerous art galleries, art studios, museums, and gardens.

Old Town San Diego State Historical Park, a living history museum, is also worth visiting. In addition to the historic architecture, this neighborhood is also home to many charming stores and restaurants.

San Diego is a true paradise for interested animal lovers and families traveling with children – not only because it offers the Californian sun and the “American way of life” in pure culture.

The animal attractions give this destination its own unique appeal. But, of course, at the top of the popularity scale is Sea World. The word “world-famous” is sometimes used unfairly, but it is appropriate in the case of Sea World.

The live shows with dolphins and orcas are almost legendary and should not be missed. All in all, this amusement and exhibition park is so immense that you could miss the shows if you are not careful – but that would be more than a pity.

So instead, it’s better to time your ride on the whitewater course and visits the walk-through giant aquariums around a live show.

Also exciting are the multimedia shows in the “Sea World.” Flight movements are simulated in a closed capsule while fascinating landscape images from the Arctic pass by on the giant screen.

Of course, there’s no shortage of fun: sometimes it looks as if the “plane” is flying just a hair’s breadth past an iceberg.

Joshua Tree National Park

Located in southern California, the “Joshua Tree National Park” is ideal for a winter stopover, as it is very sunny and warm during the day, and the skies are clear.

This is a great time to visit to escape the summer heat and crowds. This stunning desert landscape of the Joshua Tree National Park is home to a fascinating variety of plants and animals that thrive in the rugged mountains and exposed granite that characterize the area.

Many visitors come to admire the twisted Joshua Trees, made famous by the U2 album cover, or simply hike in this unusual landscape where the Mojave and Colorado deserts meet.

During your visit, a 540-meter climb up Quail Mountain offers breathtaking views. The rocky Canyon of Keys Ranch shows how early settlers once lived. You can explore the park on foot or by mountain bike, either with a guide or on your own.

In Joshua Tree National Park, visitors move through two distinct ecosystems due to their respective elevations. The lower, eastern part of the park is dominated by the Colorado Desert habitat. Here one encounters scrubland, cacti and occasional fan palms grow.

In the higher areas, from about 900 meters upwards, the Mojave Desert takes over, so to speak. It is somewhat cooler and more humid and also the home of the Joshua palm lilies, whose English name is “Joshua Tree.”

This name comes from the Mormons who passed through the area during pioneer times. For them, the tree was the symbol of the prophet Joshua, who welcomed the Israelites with his wide-spread branches – or rather arms – and showed them which way they would come to the Promised Land.

For climbing freaks from all over the world, Joshua Tree National Park is something like the Promised Land today. The first fans of this outdoor sport came because their ancestral areas in Yosemite National Park and the Sierra Nevada were too snowy in winter and, in some cases, far too difficult to reach.


In the south of the California coast is the stunning Monterey Bay, known for its marine life and great kayak tours.

The picturesque Monterey County should be high on every U.S. visitor’s bucket list. The temperate region on the central stretch of California’s coast encompasses 12 cities – including Monterey, Carmel-by-the-Sea, Pebble Beach and Big Sur – and is notable for its lush, dramatic natural landscapes.

From the cliffs and pristine beaches, you’ll catch glimpses of whales, sea otters and migratory birds every now and then. No less fascinating is the history of the region, which you will experience at the favorite places of famous authors or the Spanish mission stations.

As if that weren’t enough, there’s also award-winning food and wine scene and countless recreational opportunities – from world-class golf courses and shopping to kayaking, hiking and beyond.

The National Steinbeck Museum in Salinas is dedicated to the life and work of one of America’s most renowned authors. A visit to the John Steinbeck House will give you an insight into the childhood of the author and Pulitzer Prize winner.

Afterward, you can have lunch at the popular adjacent restaurant. Don’t miss Cannery Row: where sardines were packaged in the early 20th century, there’s now a colorful coastal street with restaurants, entertainment, wine tastings and beautiful views to discover.

Rolling hills with miles of hiking, biking and horseback riding trails stretch around Fort Ord National Monument at the site of a former military base. The Central Coast of California and Mexico have been historically intertwined for centuries.

Monterey was the first capital of the former Alta California territory, and even today, many Spanish missions, such as the famous Carmel Mission, are located in the area. Accordingly, it is not surprising that Spanish is still widely spoken here.

Nothing beats a panoramic drive on Highway One. The road follows the coastline to Big Sur, passing wetlands, artichoke fields, cypress groves and coastal cliffs. Beaches alternate with stately homes along historic 17-Mile Drive.

The elegant resort of The Lodge at Pebble Beach is adjacent to one of the world’s most prestigious golf courses. Wine lovers should follow the River Road Wine Trail and the Carmel Valley Wine Trail, sampling the choicest drops from the Salinas Valley and Carmel Valley.

If you’re looking for idyll and tranquility, Carmel-by-the-Sea is the place to be. The small coastal town surprises with art galleries, excellent restaurants and plenty of culture – not to mention the dreamlike Carmel Beach with its dazzling white sand.

The Monterey Bay Aquarium in California is one of the most beautiful and largest aquariums in the world. It is located at the end of Cannery Road in Monterey and is famous worldwide for its elaborately designed aquariums.


New Orleans - Rich in culture and history

Historic New Orleans in southeastern Louisiana is best known for its Mardi Gras festival in February. But the city also has plenty to offer during the Christmas season, when hotel rates are cheap.

At the annual Festival of Lights in the Oaks, 2 million twinkling lights light up the city park. The imposing St. Louis Cathedral also hosts live music and a Christmas event program.

On New Year’s Eve, people flock to the French Quarter to celebrate the start of the new year.

New Orleans is considered the most European city in America. It is rich in culture and history and offers many attractions, fun and action.

New Orleans, popularly known as “The Big Easy,” prides itself on its serenity and long history, where good music and delicious food play a major role. Due to its prime location on the Gulf of Mexico, temperatures are relatively mild throughout the winter.

Over the years, New Orleans and the surrounding area have been inhabited by people from a wide variety of nations. The diverse influences and traditions of the French, Spanish, Germans, British, Irish, inhabitants of the Caribbean and freed former slaves form the basis for a unique cultural mixture that is unparalleled and whose captivating appeal no visitor can resist.

Celebrate Christmas on the beach of Puerto Rico

Anyone planning a vacation in the USA does not first think of Puerto Rico. But the Caribbean island state is the largest outlying territory of the USA. And it has some superlatives to offer.

Not only does it have the brightest bioluminescent bay in the world. Its nocturnal glow can be admired from a glass-bottom boat if there is an appropriate concentration of plankton.

The largest cave network in the Western Hemisphere also stretches across the island. The more than one thousand underground caves are partly decorated with pre-Columbian rock paintings.

Tropical vacations in Puerto Rico are possible all year round. But especially in the winter months, the Caribbean cultural mix comes alive with numerous festivals and traditions.

Immediately following Thanksgiving, the holiday season gets underway in Puerto Rico. The highlight is the “Fiestas de la Calle San Sebastián,” lasting several days. After that, the entire island transforms into a tropical winter wonderland with illuminated streets, local carnival festivities, concerts, dance events and arts and crafts.

San Juans colonial old town is a Unesco World Heritage Site and celebrated its 500th anniversary in 2022 with exhibitions, concerts and festivals.

Outside Puerto Rico’s colorful capital, an impressive backdrop of mountain and forest landscapes opens up. The Guánica Dry Forest, a United Nations International Biosphere Reserve covering more than 3,600 hectares, is one of the world’s largest tropical, coastal dry forests.

El Yunque National Park is a 45-minute drive inland from the coast. On the way into the rainforest, you will get fantastic views over the rainforest down to the coast.

You can find peace and quiet at the La Coca waterfall, and from the Yokahu Observation Tower, you have a great all-around view – a stop is absolutely worth it!

The American Virgin Islands - Vacation in Paradise

If you can’t decide whether you’d rather relax on the beach, explore a lively city, or take a sailing trip along the coast, you can have it all in the U.S. Virgin Islands!

This tropical paradise in the Caribbean consists of three islands: St. Thomas, St. John and St. Croix. Each island offers different attractions. Shopping and fresh Caribbean cuisine can be found on St. Thomas, while on St. John, you should explore the magnificent crescent-shaped coastline and Virgin Islands National Park.

The islands cover 346 square kilometers and have about 106,000 inhabitants, most of whom are descended from former African slaves. The capital of the American Virgin Islands is Charlotte Amalie, which is located on Saint Thomas.

St. Croix attracts visitors with the beautiful Buck Island Reef Island National Monument as well as the unique Dutch architecture. All three islands offer beautiful beaches. Winter temperatures are around 25 degrees Celsius, and the islands are just under a 3-hour flight from Miami, Florida.

The American Virgin Islands are characterized by their subtropical climate, which is somewhat moderated by the northeast trade winds. The trade winds make for a fairly humid climate, with rainy days that can occur throughout the year. The most rain falls in the months of August to December and in May in the form of short showers. The months of January to March are much drier.

The temperature remains unchanged almost all year round. In the winter months, maximum temperatures around 30 degrees Celsius are not uncommon. However, at night, temperatures drop to an average of 23 degrees. In summer, the maximum temperatures reach about 32 degrees and fall to a maximum of 25 degrees Celsius at night.

If you are planning a vacation in the USA, you are spoiled for choice. If you can’t take a year, you won’t be able to visit the whole country.

Before you plan a trip to the USA, get more inspiration for exciting Travel Destinations in the USA here.

The USA stands for three things: great metropolises, breathtaking national parks and dream beaches, for example in Florida or Hawaii. With a little planning, you can even experience a little bit of everything.

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