In a country like India, where clothing forms a crucial part of culture and tradition, fashion holds a place of importance. Whether its going back to roots with handloom thats heritage-rich or using new-age conscious fabrics, Indian fashion has evolved in ways more than one. While clothing is culturally important, it also forms an important contributor to the countrys economy. Its a part of an industry that employs 4.5 crore employed workers including 35.22 lakh handloom workers across the country. The estimated value of the domestic textiles and apparel market stood at an estimated US$ 100 billion in Financial Year 2019. While a lot of this has to do with the countrys culture and geographical advantage, it was during Indias independence that Indian fashion really took a turn for positive change.The British InfluenceThe British rule influenced Indian fashion to a great extent. One of the most critical influences was the decline in the use of handloom fabrics. The market was flooded with cheaper, European-made fabrics, running many Indian weavers out of employment. This took a huge turn with the Khadi-Swadeshi movement, which was first introduced by leaders during the Bengal Partition of 1905, and transformed into a national-level movement by Mahatma Gandhi in the 1920s. This movement influenced innumerable Indians to switch to the more self-reliant Khadi while boycotting European goods (no matter how cheap they were).Image Source: Nytimes.comThat said, the British influence on what Indians wore can also be seen aesthetically. Women started using the petticoat and blouse, along with brooches for their sarees, while men were introduced to the pantsuit, which is, even today, regarded as an acceptable formal attire. While India succeeded in becoming free, a lot of the British sartorial influence was here to stay, only to be transformed and adopted in the Indian way.Image Source: vintageindianclothing.comAnother garment that was sparked into popularity is the Nehru Jacket. While its origins are widely debated, the silhouette and style is a noticeable merging of the traditional Bandhgala or Achkan as well as the more structured and shorter fits influenced by the British. Indias former Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehra, after whom the jacket is often referred to, made its khadi versions more popular during the pre and post-Independence era. Longer, more relaxed versions of the jacket are popular even today, sometimes known as the Modi Jacket, called so with reference to Indias current Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, who is often seen sporting them. The jackets popularity has also made its way to Indian womens wardrobe, proving to be a gender-fluid as well as a versatile silhouette for modern times.Image Source: theguardian.comPost-Independence TransformationCinema StoriesOne of the biggest influences on Indian fashion was that of Indian cinema. Women would want to wear what they saw their favourite actresses, like Madhubala, Meena Kumari and Nargis, wear on screen. Undoubtedly, the advent of films after independence was a huge source of inspiration for the industry. Western and Indian silhouettes became equally popular, be it translucent saris or the modern swimsuit, made popular by Sharmila Tagore in the late 1960s. While the classic kurta sometimes took a shorter and fitted turn during the 1970s, its longer anarkali version was made popular by Madhubala in the film Mughal-E-Azam.Image Source: Youtube.com/Eagle Action Movies, Filmfare.comThe Journey To The WestWith India becoming more globally relevant compared to its pre-Independence phase, the global influence impacted fashion in the country as well. That said, Indian fashion made a lot of these trends its own, with polka dot print sarees, and puffy sleeves used in sari blouses and kurtas. Crop tops, fishnet stockings, maxi dresses and pantsuits also saw popular demand among the younger crowd. The jeans are probably one of the most important influences of the West seen by India, something that still remains a staple in Indian wardrobes.Image Source: thekayasthajournal.wordpress.com, theculturetrip.comThe Eternal SariAll Western and Bollywood influences set aside, the sari remained eternal through decades and still remains so. Its simple chiffon version, worn with pearls, was made a style statement by Maharani Gayatri Devi of Jaipur, especially during the 1950s. The saris simpler, bordered version was most popular during this decade. Another important figure that became synonymous with the sari was Indias first woman Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi, who was always seen clad in tasteful, handloom and khadi saris, during the 1960s and 1970s.Image Source:Khinkhwab.com, e-pao.net/While independence changed a lot for the country sartorially, whats notable is how Indian fashion gave trends and external influences a traditional spin, giving it an aesthetic balance, and creating its very own Indo-Western category of clothing.