When you think of India, you think of a land of cultural fairy tales. It invokes the grandeur of times bygone, and sights of the global future seem to be ever-expanding its focus with enchantment and profiteering in the wake. India’s contemporary aura of importance is its demographic situation, which makes the country one of the more alluring markets for global brands and visions similar to the position.
The case is its enormous potential of growth expected to be brought in by its youth sector. India is unique in terms of this, as it currently has over 65% of its population below the age of 35 and 50% below 25. By 2020, India’s average age of the community is expected to be 29, which is contrasting to most countries whose population is growing older. From a workforce, demand and spending power standpoint, these are exciting times. As the phenomenal youth power grows, Indian style and taste context is a meaningful conversation globally. However, all isn’t simple.
Unlike most western societies with youth dominated voices focused on growth and individuality, the mindsets in India are incredibly polar, myriad and contrasting. Traditional styles still pay a large part of the countries culture and heritage. It’s an ongoing dialogue even while global trends permeate and are adopted at hyper speeds by an increasingly digital & connected consumer.
Certain distant and unique aspects of style thinking’s have made India a breeding ground of aesthetics, shaped upon an immensely complex socio-cultural and geo-political ecosystem.
Gothipsters (Goth + Hipsters)
This emerging hybrid style tribe is an Indian version of hipsters paired with elements of emo and grunge but mainly goth. Gothipsters are a style tribe that express with all things black, rugged, topknots, bearded appeals and accents of metal. Millennials brought the hipster trend to mainstream Indian culture where its fine line between subculture and counterculture quickly blurred. The direction of expression became an instant hit amongst the Indian youth allowing the display of a slew of masculine style traits, but also mindset-based interpretations such as slow living, anti-fashion, alternative lifestyles, nomadic lifestyle and root-based Organic attributes were the core reasons for its popularity. Besides, this could also be a manifestation of young Indians’ needs to display stronger rebellion-based communication around Hipster mindsets & lifestyles. There is a keen interest in darker colours, lesser prints, blends of denser textured fabric interactions, slower living, casualised attires, semi-urbane tone and aesthetic with borderline grunge and ego taste visible in some groups of this tribe.
Gully Street Gully “Street” Boys (and Girls)
The “Apna Time Aayega” fever of Ranveer Singh starrer “Gully Boy” has brought streetwear to a more democratic foray than previously felt in the current of the Indian fashion scene. This movement has brought into mainstream a youth tribe of streetwear enthusiasts who do no longer intend to consume global cult brands like Stussy, Off-White and Supreme, but are turning to mix-match from thrift stores to generate authentic street looks, and also favouring indigenous and local Streetwear brands like Strey, VegNonVeg, Capsule, etc. This style tribe believes in maximising opportunities to blend hyper-cool silhouettes and prints to generate impact and incorporate Indian sensibilities in their choices of expression in all ways possible. Brighter shades, lighter fabric interplays with heavy knits, stripes, motifs inspired from the country’s socio-economic landscape are some ways this tribe is slowly building its aesthetic community and branching. Arty Maximalists Arty Maximalists The style tribe is borne out of a need to provoke and rattle physical boundaries and create a power statement in whatever they wear. Dense textures and bolder shades of colours that block gradually or abruptly are quite the sensibilities this tribe emphasises on. Individualised manner possible and that leads this style tribe to lean towards elements that are artistic & personal, such as patches, hand-painted types, self-distresses, etc. The aesthetic is about confidence, and this style of the tribe makes its onus through a currency of attention, experimentation and boldness of approach.
Arty Maximalists The style tribe is borne out of a need to provoke and rattle physical boundaries and create a power statement in whatever they wear. Dense textures and bolder shades of colours that block gradually or abruptly are quite the sensibilities this tribe emphasises on. Individualised manner possible and that leads this style tribe to lean towards elements that are artistic & personal, such as patches, hand-painted types, self-distresses, etc. The aesthetic is about confidence, and this style of the tribe makes its onus through a currency of attention, experimentation and boldness of approach.
Glocalectics (Global + Local + Eclectics) is a tribe embraces global and local style sensibilities with doses of the eclecticism of an individual’s imagination and image-making. This style tribe is a firm believer in their societal and cultural roots. Keen and optimistic to consistently expand their horizons, Glocalectics incorporate global looks but remain connected to their heritage, and that best of both worlds.
Indiclusives (India + inclusivity’s)
Legalising LGBTQ rights was probably one of the most pioneering new age shifts addressed by India, that was long overdue. Inclusivity, however, which is the bigger bubble within which the above operates, remains a discussion and dialogue that yet remains a concept, not yet thoroughly touched by the mainstream youth culture of India. A group of consumers, artists, bloggers and thought leaders who express Indianized Inclusivity by what they wear, and how they wear are serving as a crux towards balanced and holistic change.
Newer voices are heard and appreciated, and this tribe doesn’t shy away from challenging norms or bringing newer ones to the foray.
Bohorganic Tribe (Bohemian/Boho + Organic)
For Bohorganics, heritage is crucial to them. Bohorganics celebrate all things artisanal, craft and organic, this style tribe comprised of creatives and consumers showcase possibilities that something natural isn’t necessarily non-aesthetic.
To Bohorganics, culture and heritage are crucial to them; this tribe rarely ventures into unsustainable pastures. They are believers in India’s ability to turn the tide of rampant consumerism towards a more considered and more conscious level of living, wearing and expressing style. India’s Style Tribes is yet to see its full potential in terms of diversification. These tribes are nothing but emerging voices in an ecosystem that is so myriad and multifaceted that many expressions that are still ready to be influenced.
Indian traditions are bound to play an authoritative role in the coming decade, which will undoubtedly see the maturity of many of the current style tribes and spawning of newer ones. Youth voices will remain impactful in the coming decades. How diversity will play along with unity is going to the crucial next direction in terms of aesthetics and styles, and groups will emerge out of these interactions and intersections.
These groups will usher the next phase in the evolution of style sensibilities and crafting of newer meanings of Indian aesthetics.