Everyone has access, no one has access
Instagram starts to melt each time a famous couple heads to Italy for their nuptials. In spite of the many fashion weeks we have in Bombay and Delhi, it is bridal fashion that really creates the hype, hoopla (and moolah)
In many cultures, the two distinct genres of fashion on the runways are- couture and ready to wear. Here in India, we pretend to care about our couture week(s) and fashion week(s) but in actuality, it is only bridal fashion anyone cares about.
If we ask a random group of people across the country to describe a show-stopping gown from couture week, you might hear crickets. Ditto for ready-to-wear exhibits; but ask anyone what an actress wore to her mandap and you will have a detailed answer. The irony is, fashion weeks are PR machines, everyone has access to them. In comparison, few people have access to a major celebrity wedding. Yet they remain vivid in our memory.
We all hold windows in our hands- our phones. With Instagram, WhatsApp group chats and blogs documenting every phera, ring ceremony and stroke of henna, it is safe to say that wedding fashion is the only fashion we obsessed with.
No shade, just get it made
A good yardstick to measure a good design is to see how many times it gets knocked over. At least this is true for lehengas and sari blouses. Almost every tailor in the nation has had to at least once recreate a piece of clothing based on a photograph of a celebrity at a wedding party.
Nobody ever goes to an ice cream shop and wonders if they could indeed whip up better ice cream at home, but when it comes to Indian clothes, everyone can try their hand at bespoke tailoring courtesy their neighbourhood tailor.
Most people can screenshot designs and recreate them with little to no consequence. On the other hand, designers who indulge in these activities get burned at the stake of social media. The same rules don’t apply to customers and designers, celebrities and average joes. This much has always been clear, but why that is, might just reflect who we are as a people.
If you look at the comment section of any designer’s Instagram page, thousands of fans and commentators are armed and ready to critique the hairstyle, colours, designs and jewellery adorned by a bride. The grooms may receive an odd comment or two. This is proof of that fact that we only care about bridal fashion more than any other genre of fashion because as a collective we like to scrutinize women and what they wear.
Impact on Indian fashion
Most major designers are now refocusing their brands and their social media to cater to the bridal market while ready-to-wear diminishes.
Wedding exhibitions see more footfall than any of the fashion weeks and bridal lehengas cost as much as the average hatchback car; but at the very least the lakhs do convert to likes and that is also a good way to create some hype, hoopla (and moolah).