Toolika Gupta – University of Copenhagen

Influence of British Raj on Indian Fashion

By PhD student Toolika Gupta

Summary of research 

There are many factors that influence fashion like technology, economy, society, politics, geography, religion, culture, climate and so on. In order to understand these factors that brought about a change in India’s fashion preferences as a result of the Raj, the research questions identified were

  1. What were the factors that brought about a change in Indian fashion as a result of the Raj?
  2. What was the effect of British Raj on Indian identity? How did this identity change, and how did this reflect on clothing and textile preferences of the Indians?
  3. What were the kinds of garments that came out as a result of this new identity? Were they purely Western or was there a fusion of different elements? Do the Indian culture, geography and economy have a role to play in it at all?
  4. How traditional are Indian traditional costumes? 

This research focuses on influencing factors of fashion. It tries to analyse the reasons for changes in clothing and textile preferences with British-India as case study. The time period is late 19th and early 20th Century.