India at 75: Know the history and evolution of Indian fashion from the 1950s to the 2020s

India at 75: Know the history and evolution of Indian fashion from the 1950s to the 2020s

India is celebrating its 75th Independence Day this year. To encourage people, the Government of India has started a ‘Har Ghar Tiranga’ campaign asking people to bring the Indian flag home and hoist it. Following the instructions of the government, people passionately support the ‘Har Ghar Tiranga’ campaign and bring flags to their homes.

The entire nation is ready to display shades of pride – the tricolor while some people will unfurl the flag, few will serve or eat tri-colored food to celebrate, some will dress up in Bhartiya Tiranga.

If we talk about Indian fashion trends, fashion has changed a lot since the 50s and each of these decades had a defining aesthetic and trend. As India celebrates its 75th Independence Day, here we have compiled an overview of the history and evolution of India’s booming fashion industry. Let’s go through the changing fashion taste of free Indians over the last 75 years.

The 1950s

After freedom, people had a strong taste of patriotism. They used to wear khadi to support the swadeshi movement. It can also be seen that people were more influenced to European culture and Hindi cinema. Actresses like Nargis, Nutan, Suraiya and Meena Kumari were the fashion icons of this era.

the 1960’s

In the 1960s, people were more influenced by actors like Dilip Kumar and Dev Anand and actresses like Madhubala, Mumtaz and Nargis Datt to seek inspiration for their fashion choices. In this era, women’s clothing became more fashionable and everyone embraced bright colors and prints.

Anarkali suit, layered orange saree, body-hugging churidar suits, shorter blouses and a hint of skin on screen, puffy hairstyles, winged eyeliner and the uber popular Sadhna cut were from this decade.

The 1970s

The 1970s were huge for fashion because this decade gave us Dimple Kapadia’s iconic polka dot blouse in Bobby, Zeenat Aman’s hippie look from Hare Rama Hare Krishna, Parveen Babi’s skimpy bikini and Helen’s iconic Cabaret feathers. Bell bottoms, cropped shirts, oversized glasses, platform heels and polka dots were some of the most memorable trends from this era.

the 1980s

The 80s brought many changes to the fashion industry. This era introduced Blingy ornaments, big shoulder pads, garish colours, metallics, unruly hair and leg warmers and also gave birth to the first generation of Indian fashion designers like Rohit Khosla and Satya Paul.

In 1983, Bhanu Athaiya won India’s first and only Oscar for costume design and the National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT) was established in 1986. In Bollywood, Sri Devi and Rekha were the fashion icons.


This era began with the economic liberalization of India. From denim shirts, crop tops, chokers, coordinates and overalls to chiffon sarees and oversized shirts – all these are the gift of the decade. The 1990s created trends that are still in trend today. Actresses like Karisma Kapoor, Madhuri Dixit, Aishwarya, Sushmita Khan and Kajol were the style icons of this period.


In this era, access to the internet was so easy, which opened the doors to the latest styles and trends. As more women became independent, they could afford to spend a larger amount on fashion and beauty products. Super fitted garments like tube tops and micro-minis as well as desi fusion outfits are given by this era.

2010s to 2020s

Moving on to the most recent period, the 2010s brought us digitization including social media and influencers! The focus shifted to street style. Digital Era has made all fashion available with just one click.

As the last decade in the middle of a full-blown pandemic draws to a close, the focus is now shifting to comfort and clothes that look good on social media. The next decade in fashion is focused on technological advances such as smart fabrics and digital clothing.

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