INDIAN INFLUENCES ON 1960íS FASHIONS
1960ís have been characterized as a decade of rebellion, nonconformity,
counterculture, and above all a period of youth. Social and cultural
changes that occurred in the 60s embraced everything from clothing to politics.
of the youth counterculture included the rejection of the values, norms,roles,
and statuses associated with contemporary adult society. The disaffected
youth in the 1960s developed habits of dress, recreation, and lifestyles
to express their alternative values and attitudes. One of the ways
the youth of the 60s showed their rebellion against tradition was in the
manner which they dressed. The style of dress worn by the youth symbolized
both the rejection of the middle-class culture and assertion of a counterculture.
during the 60s and early 70s, there was widespread interest in Indian culture
in the fields of art, philosophy, and religion. Basically, three
groups of people were responsible for introducing young Americans to Indian
culture and philosophy during the 1960s: intellectuals, musicians,
and religious leaders.
such as Alan Watts and Allen Ginsberg introduced Eastern religions (Hinduism
and Zen Buddhism) to American youth while lecturing at colleges around
the country. Popular musicians, such as the Beatles and the Rolling
Stones, showed interest in Indian religions and music. The Beatles
traveled to India in 1968 to study transcendental meditation with Maharishi
Mahesh Yogi. George Harrison studied Indian music from Ravi Shankar,
a famous Indian sitarist, and the Beatles began incorporating Indian elements
into their music. Additionally, Indian musicians toured US campuses
in the 60s and early 70s (Kim, 1990).
of Indian dress in the US
Indian costume styles into 1960s contemporary American fashion, the degree
of cultural authenticity varied between social systems.
The styles found in high and
mainstream fashion were transformed considerably and substantially
in form and meaning.
The simplest level of cultural
authentication (selection) was perceived in the styles which were
directly imported in youth fashion (Kim, 1990).
Jacket was one element of Indian dress that penetrated western dress.
This style of jacket was single breasted and slightly fitted with a band
collar. It was based on a traditional Indian jacket and named after
the Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru because he commonly wore this
traditional garment. This jacket was worn as an alternative to the
suit jacket. For some, particularly when worn with beads, it represented
a mid-point between conformity and the hippie. It was popular from 1966
to 1968 (Baines, 1981; Tortora & Eubank, 1994).
The psychedelic tie-dyed garments of the sixties, seventies and today are
derived from an Indian resist-dyeing technique called bandhani (Hindi
for "tie" or "bind"). This ancient process involves binding tiny areas
of the fabric to develop a fine linear pattern made up of small dots. The
motifs are predominantly inspired by nature. The fabric may be dyed several
times, different areas of the design are tied to prevent the dye from penetrating
those areas; the lightest color is always used first (University
of Hawaii, 1989).
Baines, B.B. (1981). Fashion
Revivals from the Elizabethan Age to the Present Day. London:
Kim, H. K. (1990). Indian
Influence on American Costume from 1960-1975. Unpublished Doctoral
Tortora, P. and Eubank,
K. (1994). Survey of Historic Costume, 2nd Ed.
New York: Fairchild.
University of Hawaii Art
Gallery. (1989). The Art of Asian Costume. Honolulu,
HI: The University of Hawaii Art Gallery.
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