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Indian Clothing

 Indian Clothing

Illustration of different styles of Sari & clothing worn by women in India.
Traditional clothing in India greatly varies across different parts of the country and is influenced immensely by local culture, geography and climate. Popular styles of dress include draped garments such as sari for women and dhoti or lungi for men; in addition, stitched clothes such as churidar for women and kurta-pyjama and European-style trousers and shirts for men, are also popular.
In India, a person's social status is perceived to be symbolized by his or her attire. Indian dress etiquette discourages exposure of skin and wearing transparent or tight clothes.Most Indian clothes are made from cotton which is ideal for the region's hot weather. Since India's weather is mostly hot and rainy, majority of Indians wear sandals.
Worn by women on their forehead, the bindi is considered to be a highly auspicious mark in Hindu religion. Traditionally, the red bindi (or sindoor) was worn only by the married Hindu women, but now it has become a part of women's fashion. Some Indian traditions consider the bindi to be representative of the third eye.
India's clothing styles have continuously evolved over the course of the country's history. Ancient Vedic texts mention clothes made from barks and leaves (known as phataka). The 11th century BC Rig-veda mentions dyed and embroidered garments (known as paridhan and pesas respectively) and thus highlights the 

development of sophisticated garment manufacturing techniques during the Vedic age. In 5th century BC, Greek historian Herodotus describes the richness of the quality of Indian cotton clothes. By 2nd century AD, muslins manufactured in southern India were imported by the Roman Empire and silk cloth was one of the major exports of ancient India along with Indian spices. Stitched clothing in India was developed before 10th century AD and was further popularized in 15th century by Muslim empires in India. Draped clothing styles remained popular with India's Hindu population while the Muslims increasingly adopted tailored garments.
During the British Raj, India's large clothing and handicrafts industry was left paralyzed so as to make place for British industrial cloth. Consequently, Indian independence movement leader Mahatma Gandhi successfully advocated for what he termed as khadi clothing — light colored hand-woven clothes — so as to decrease reliance of the Indian people on British industrial goods. The 1980s was marked by a widespread modification to Indian clothing fashions which was characterized by a large-scale growth of fashion schools in India, increasing involvement of women in the fashion industry and changing Indian attitudes towards multiculturalism. These developments played a pivotal role in the fusion of Indian and Western clothing styles.