Saturday, June 15, 2024


Dhaka Tribune

Ethnic elegance

Update : 07 Jun 2015, 12:58 PM

One big fashion fad seen on the international catwalks this year is the one for tribal-inspired prints and elements. Style-wise, this is great news for us because what's exotic (and probably more expensive) in the West is easily available here, at a lower cost, and a lot of this stuff is also ethically produced and environmentally friendly, to boot. So let's look at ways to take our home-ground style advantage to global chic.


A key component to the tribal look is to find a riot of mixed prints and work it right. It's as simple as throwing on a chundri orna over your striped tee and jeans, and kicking it in a pair of leather kolapuris. Saris take a lot of the thinking out of the equation, particularly gamcha saris, and those with a traditional motif. However, for the tribal chic look to work outside of our borders, a little more creative mixing needs to go into the look. You can either get an appropriately deshi kurti from Taaga, Pride Girls, Jatra, or any of our artisan stores, or you can fashion your own, by re-purposing old saris, dupattas, or even lungis. Remember to pair your deshi item with an international one, be it jeans or palazzos or even a maxi skirt. If you're going the sari route, lose the blouse and wear a crop top instead, and cinch at the waist with a belt. The key word here is “fusion”.


For the look to pop, you want to offset your bright prints with some earthy shades. So if you're sporting a psychedelic rickshaw print top, for example, opt for khakis, or olive green capris. If you've got those Jatra harem pants going, choose a khadi or linen top in some neutral shade. Off-white, muted browns and greens and warm greys are preferable to more industrial hues.


Think nature-inspired, Bohemian pieces. Warm wooden rings, beads, feathers, fringes, all of that good stuff. You can also go in a slightly different direction, with hammered metal pieces, brass, bronze, oxidised silver, and plenty of turquoise and coral jewellery.

Finishing touch

Once you've sorted out your threads and your bling, it's time to add the final deets to complete the look. Shoes, scarves, and bags. Leather is definitely a do, and we're talking natural dyed leather, although eco-friendly materials like jute and hemp are also on the table. With scarves, consider animal motifs as they're pretty much a print neutral, and they definitely have that tribal feel. Another alternative, as discussed, are chundri ornas.

The Mix Sheet

If you're re-purposing old saris/lungis/dupattas into custom pieces, here's a handy cheat sheet on how to get the right combination of patterns:

* Batik – throw in some subtle polka dots (small print), and add a little zari for sparkle.

* Animal motifs (elephants, birds) – look for subtle paisleys, and strong plaid

* Botanical/floral prints – throw in a combination of sparkle and texture, such as sequins or mirrors/beading, and match with some simple geometric prints


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