The internet is definitely a place where you’re dragged through the most scandalous controversies to absurd debacles over issues that crop up due to some comment or a random picture somewhere.
The latest debate is the whole “Tacky NRI Fashion” that started when the anonymously-run Instagram account, Diet Sabya shared a Netflix reel, demonstrating Bridgerton-inspired Indian outfits, and went ahead to call them ‘absolutely terrible.’
This sparked another debate of Shakespearean proportions that implored the NRI community to weigh in on whether ‘NRIs really have no idea of Indian fashion’ or not.
A response made by the user was further posted on the feed of Diet Sabya that prompted their followers to ‘discuss’.
The full response read, ‘Even the most stylish NRI influencers wear super tacky Indian clothes. Something that Indians wore a decade back! They need to catch up!’
Indians back home announced that diaspora Indians were sloppy and distasteful when it came to Indian Fashion.
In response to this, NRIs defended themselves, by talking about the lack of accessibility and logistical problems, therefore starting a debate filled with fury and judgment.
However, this isn’t the first time when Indians have been misrepresented by the tacky NRI fashion.
When Parvati and Padma Patil wore pink and orange sets in Harry Potter’s Yule Ball, Indians across the globe felt excruciating pain to be represented like this.
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More recently, when Sarah Jessica Parker aka Carrie Bradshaw wore a lehenga and called it a saree while dawning preposterous flowers on her head, Indians were enraged.
Similar outrage was seen when Gucci launched the Kaftan collection’s new designs, primarily desi kurtas.
The designs brought Gucci a lot of criticism not only because of the outrageous designs that were awful to look at but because it charged an exorbitant price for simply appropriating Indian culture and heritage. Naturally, the offended Indians could not contain themselves on this.
The West clearly hasn’t moved on from their mental image of picturing Indians with gaudy jewellery and snake bindis. Moreover, they have an incorrect notion of a saree where anything slightly Indian as a lehenga seems like a saree to them.
We’ve also witnessed our NRI relatives associating the word “Bling” with modern Indian ethnic wear that includes all things that are bold and loud.
Often, the modern Indian ethnic wear runs its course and becomes outdated by the time the West learns about it.
This entire debate has now become more about identity crisis and less about fashion. The NRIs seek a sense of belongingness, as they grapple to form an identity for themselves, and fashion has always been a marker for who you are.
At the same time, Residential Indians are carving a mark for themselves on the global stage, because they’ve been told time and again, that the West is the superior place to be, and so they are scrambling to hold their ground on everything that’s theirs, and fashion is perhaps one of the biggest emblems of culture.
The issue isn’t with the NRIs or the Indian residents. It’s the whole fad with the internet and popular culture including the Instagram influencers’ accounts, and the general mindset of the West that hasn’t gotten over the snake-charmers India and even their white supremacy.
But is the resulting debate really about patterns, colours, or fit?
Beneath the surface of this heated exchange lies the politics of immigration and socioeconomic status that explain why an audacious and sassy take became a lightning rod for debate about Indian identity and who gets to have culture, taste, or pay homage to their heritage — and how.
Image Credits: Google Images
Feature Image designed by Saudamini Seth
Find the blogger: @Drishti Shroff
This post is tagged under: Tacky NRI Fashion, Carrie Bradshaw, Parvati Patil, tacky, resident Indians, non-resident Indians, gaudy jewellery, diet sabya, instagram, fashion sense, gucci, kaftan’s collection, indian culture and tradition
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