Western brands rule the world of fashion, and yet, we can’t help but notice the heavy influence of South-Asian culture in some of their recent designs. Many of these brands have given credit where it’s due, claiming their inspiration came from an assortment of rich cultures. However, the others have remained tight-lipped about the source of their inspiration.
1- Peshawari Chappal
Paul Smith recently came up with a certain type of shoe which seemed rather familiar to us. Calling it the Robert Sandal, they introduced this as a high shine leather sandal and priced it at over 70,000 rupees. The problem, however, was that this was an exact replica of our basic Peshawari Chappal, which is available anywhere ranging from a few hundred rupees to a couple of thousand, maximum. After facing heavy criticism, being called out on social media, and also having a Change.org petition submitted against them, the brand succumbed to the public pressure and officially renamed the shoe from the “Robert Sandal” to “Men’s high-shine black leather sandals inspired by the Peshawari chappal”.
When Gucci launched its silk kaftan with a floral print, we had to do a double-take! It looked so much like an everyday kurta that Pakistani women wear so regularly, that the fact that it cost a few thousand dollars actually shook us. Will anybody be willing to pay so much for it when there are very similar things that are so easily available at not even quarter the price? Maybe. Contrary to that, there are celebrities like Gigi Hadid, who actually bought a kurta from a Pakistani brand to wear for her Eid celebrations.
3- Truck Art
We are all aware of the West’s obsession with Pakistani truck art. The vibrant striking colours and patterns seem to catch everyone’s eye. Dolce & Gabbana in particular, seems to be extremely influenced by it. From kitchen appliances to apparel there seem to be similar colours and patterns everywhere in their collections.
The Stella McCartney Chellini Trousers are hard to ignore, as they look immensely inspired by our very own Desi Ghararas.
5- Embroidered Mirror Work
Detailed embroidery with mirror work can be found all across the spectrum of Pakistani culture; from waistcoats to Sindhi topis. But now, Top Shop has the entire world vying for this intricate work with their cute crop tops.
6- Kolhapuri Chappal
The iconic Kolhapuri chappal, which has been around since forever, now comes with a Western twist. Giuseppe Zanotti and Tory Burch are two of the latest designers to offer the “toe-ring sandal”.
7- Shalwaar Kameez
The fashion world looked on in awe as fashion powerhouse Versace showcased it’s Spring/Summer collection in 2016. There was heavy Eastern influence all around, but the model wearing what appeared to be a typical shalwar kameez and sporting a dark blazer was what stood out the most.
8- Teeka/Head Jewelry
South Asian jewelry is something that has always fascinated the world. The intricate work and mesmerising designs are truly fabulous. We got an idea of how much the Western world really admired it when a designer like Chanel showcased their collection with the models wearing head pieces that looked exactly like Teekas. Karl Lagerfeld himself stated that the collection was indeed inspired by “last days of the Raj.”
Henna/Mehndi has always been an integral part of the culture of the Subcontinent since ancient times. It’s a very important factor in most celebrations and is now also considered a fashion statement. Over the past few years, the use of Henna for body art has made its way thousands of miles westwards as many celebrities and fashion influencers have been spotted wearing it on different occasions.