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Navigating the Runway at South Asian Fashion Week

In the first two weeks of September 2023, South Asian New York Fashion Week (SANYFW) made its debut showcase during New York Fashion Week. 

South Asian Fashion Week has emerged as a groundbreaking initiative with world renowned minds of South Asian designers. It prompted an electric array of runway showcases that featured South Asian designs and models, captivating the traditional influences seamlessly. Being set in New York City, famously known as the #1 iconic fashion hub, the designs were created with a rich touch of heritage, embodying the fashion universe.

New York Fashion Week is viewed as a high-profile event in the fashion industry, showcasing designers’ latest collections. Attracting renowned designers, celebrities, and fashion enthusiasts. The runway shows feature cutting-edge designs, setting trends for the upcoming seasons. Its platform intersects the world's art with culture and a touch of fashion.

This has signified a growing recognition of diverse cultural influences in the fashion industry. It provides a dedicated platform for creative minds of the South Asian community,to showcase the culture that makes a representative shift in the fashion realm. 

South Asian Fashion Week has carved a niche for itself by capturing exhibitions categorized into specific styles, such as streetwear, indo-western, menswear, bridal, and much more. By fabric designs, detailed beadwork, and multi-shaped clothing, these designers incorporate materials like brocade silk in traditional clothing, such as saris and lehengas, evoking a sense of nostalgia to much of the 2000’s era. 

Shipra Sharma, the co-founder of South Asian Fashion Week, describes how materials like silk and chiffon crepe are widely used, but popularized more by South Asian design. These unique patterns like paisleys and tie-dye embroidery known as Badhani introduce a sense of uniqueness to the culture.  

Diving deeper in, a key highlight of the lehenga, involves floor length skirts and cropped tops. This classic style has influenced much of style today, with short trendy tops and classy two piece gowns. Hetal Patel, the founder of South Asian Fashion Week emphasizes how lenghas are still shaping fashion, creating a lasting impression for the styles we see today. As for saris, these draped pieces of clothing involve a two piece set at the bottom, almost similar to a lehenga, covered by a large piece of silk or cotton material, designed in many different ways. Even though this style is not something commonly seen across the world, it still projects a piece of significance to the country. 

Cultural expression that is displayed in fashion is important for preserving and celebrating one's identity through heritage. It can be defined as a “visual language,” that displays values to others. By showcasing these unique styles and symbols, individuals contribute to the art of global diversity. Overall, allowing for a mutual understanding between different nations and communities throughout the word. 

The intricate pieces of Indian fashion were displayed remarkably in that they created a space for a look into fashion in other parts of the world. The week was filled with a powerful display of fashion being promoted as a tool for inclusivity and bridging the gaps of culture. These designers and models were given the opportunity to broadcast their work in a glorified week under the title of “Fashion Week,” being hosted in New York City.


Edited by Chloe Mansola.

Image: 'New York Fashion Week need a sustainable makeover' by PREMIUM PARIS licensed by CC BY 4.0 DEED





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