South Asian fashion demand increases in Britain
In the day and age of social networking, ideas and fashion are very easy to influence. In the UK there has been a definite increase in the influence of Asian fashion, in popular high street shops you can see harem pants, head jewellery pieces, long flowy tops with Indian inspired prints. These reflect salwars, bindis/tikkaa’s and kurtas, which suggest that the UK market has been inspired by the classic South Asian fashion. The demand in this style can be seen as a result of many factors; for example the rise in awareness of holidays like Holi, Diwali, Eid combined with social networking sites making outfits more viewable to the British public.
What is striking is the fact that the demand of Asian couture has even made its way to supermarkets such as ASDA, in 2009 they launched Asian clothing which consisted of a 13 piece collection. This was very successful especially during the build up to the Islamic festival of Eid. Bearing this in mind, the demand for Asian fashion shows the influence of Asians in the UK broadening its markets. Asian cuisine has been popular and has increased in demand for the past 10 years, now it seems to be the turn of Asian fashion.
A factor which can be seen as a reason for the increase in demand for Asian fashion may be the fact that the youth of today have been taught to be more accepting. This is in the upbringing and the school syllabus, which encourages students to find out about other cultures. For example, the introduction of PSR (Public/Social relationships) has included learning about other festivals, which are ethnic. This has through time built up British Asians to feel proud of their culture, as well as creating a sense of unity among all races. with over 250,000 guests and more than 1 million facebook fans – stressing the importance of social networks, the London Holi festival (festival of colors) is a great example of this.
At the holi festival in London, many non-ethnic people were seen wearing bindis, along with henna tattoos. The influence of the fashion has become mainstream, and can even be argued to be a factor in the integration of Asians among the British society. In addition to this, the market has increased due to Asian communities dominating certain areas. The example of Brick Lane, Whitechapel, Green Street, the majority of East London containing stalls and boutiques, which sell solely south Asian, fashion items. These are successful and are growing in numbers, which is reflected when looking at mainstream places like Westfield, which has opened the famous Pakistani boutique ‘Kaadhi’
With South Asian fashion becoming increasingly popular in Britain, it will merely be a few years until we see a heavily influenced stock of Asian fashion in London Fashion Week. The UK is seemingly becoming more and more accepting as it hunts few new trends, new demands, and as more Asians become integrated into British communities. This has really broadened the fashion industry giving it a fresh new vibe.