Indian fashion couture aims to connect cultures in Miami

An Indian fashion exhibit took place on Sunday at the Miami Marriott Dadeland, where attendees met couture Indian designers and shopped for festive wear that merged Western culture with Indian traditions.

The goal of the show was to promote Indian culture by connecting the community in South Florida with designers who understand their fashion needs, said Dr. Dileep Yavagal, president of the Miami Association of Indian Americans for Culture and Arts, which sponsored the event.

It was produced by Anaak Events and Production.

“We really want the audience to know that the Indian fashion scene is extremely robust and bursting with new fashions, with ideas that are incorporations of the ancient culture,” Yavagal said. “Indian fashion brings a diversity to what the Western countries are used to, bringing a completely different dimension to garments and jewelry for both men and women.”

The event began with a VIP preview at 11 a.m., which required guests to purchase a $15 ticket that granted them access to drinks and Indian cuisine. The rest of the event, starting at 1 p.m., was free to the public. Attendees spent most of their time socializing and checking out what the different vendors had to offer.

The main attraction of the preview was a discussion with the three designers: Charu Parashar, Ruby Bhandari and Tina Bhardwaj. They discussed the rise of their brands and how they accommodate their designs to fit the modern Indian fashion trends.

“Indian fashion has really evolved in the last six to seven years and it has become very global now,” Parashar said. “Of course the silhouettes change from not just each country, but also from city to city … each brand needs to know their audience.”

As the designers discussed the current trends, models showcased their designs. Bhandari explained the different artistic elements and gave suggestions on how to style the clothing. Each designer highlighted the idea of making fashion versatile, going beyond strictly festive wear into everyday street style.

“You can style differently each time you wear an outfit, honestly have fun with these outfits,” Bhardwaj said. “It is not about the outfit at the end of the day, it is about you wearing the outfit, not the other way around.”

After the guided discussion, members of the audience had the opportunity to ask questions. One attendee asked how she could wear the clothing while pregnant.

“If you are pregnant, do come back to one of us and we will show you different garments that you can wear now and again wear later,” Bhandari said. “I think that when you are pregnant it is very cute to show, so we do want to show your beautiful baby.”

The designers encouraged the audience to approach them after the panel to get one-on-one styling consultations. Bhardwaj highlighted that the clothing they make is not specific to a certain occasion. By traveling to different countries and showcasing their work, the designers have expanded their audience to include people of different cultures.

“I love how people style our outfits and they wear it to American galas and receptions,” Bhardwaj said. “Somebody actually wore it to a christening, imagine how confusing that could be culturally. I am happy to see that happening.”

Natalia Clement is a senior journalism student at FIU. She was born in Bogota, Colombia, but was raised in Miami. Her passion for journalism began in elementary school as a school news anchor and continued all the way into college. She enjoys written journalism the most, but also finds broadcasting interesting. She is the copy editor for Caplin News and also interns at Univision. Natalia looks forward to graduating in the summer. Her ultimate goal is to move to New York to pursue her career as a journalist.