Indian Fashion Design: 5 Style Elevating Elements
Written by  Daisie Team
Published on 5 min read


  1. Embroidery and Appliqué
  2. Traditional Silhouettes
  3. Vibrant Color Palettes
  4. Rich Textiles
  5. Ornate Jewelry

Take a peek into the world of modern Indian fashion design, and you'll find it's a vibrant, eclectic blend of tradition and innovation. It's a realm where centuries-old design techniques meet contemporary style aesthetics, creating a unique fashion language that's authentically Indian yet global in its appeal. In this blog, we'll explore five key elements that elevate Indian fashion design, giving it its distinctive character and charm.

Embroidery and Appliqué

One of the most defining features of modern Indian fashion design is the use of intricate embroidery and appliqué work. These traditional embellishment techniques add a touch of handmade sophistication to garments, making them stand out in the global fashion scene.

Hand Embroidery

Hand embroidery is a labor of love that transforms ordinary fabrics into works of art. Famous styles include the delicate Chikankari from Lucknow, the shimmering Zardozi with gold and silver threads, and the vibrant Phulkari from Punjab. Whether it's a simple cotton kurta or a lavish silk saree, hand-embroidered designs add a touch of elegance that's hard to rival.

Appliqué Work

Appliqué, an art form where fabric shapes are sewn onto a larger piece of cloth, is another popular embellishment in Indian fashion design. This technique adds depth and texture to garments, making them visually appealing. Patchwork, a subset of appliqué, is often seen in traditional Rajasthani garments and is now making its way into modern urban wear.

Machine Embroidery and Appliqué

While traditional handwork has its charm, machine embroidery and appliqué have gained popularity in recent times. These techniques allow for more intricate designs and faster production times, meeting the demands of the fast-paced fashion industry. Brands like Sabyasachi and Manish Malhotra often use machine embroidery in their collections, creating stunning outfits that are a blend of tradition and modernity.

Whether it's the meticulous handwork of a skilled artisan or the precision of machine embroidery, these techniques significantly contribute to the allure of Indian fashion. They introduce an element of craftsmanship that's deeply rooted in the country's rich cultural heritage, adding a unique dimension to modern Indian fashion design.

Traditional Silhouettes

Another defining feature of Indian fashion design is its use of traditional silhouettes. While the global fashion industry is constantly evolving, Indian designers often draw inspiration from the classic styles that have stood the test of time.

Saree: The Quintessential Indian Drape

At the heart of Indian fashion is the saree—a versatile garment that has been gracefully draped by Indian women for centuries. Today, modern Indian fashion design incorporates the saree in innovative ways. Designers like Masaba Gupta and Ritu Kumar have reinvented the saree, introducing contemporary prints, unconventional draping styles, and modern accessories, while preserving its elegant charm.

Kurta: The Comfortable Classic

Another iconic element in Indian fashion is the kurta. This versatile tunic can be styled in countless ways, making it a staple in Indian wardrobes. Modern Indian fashion design has seen a surge in the popularity of the kurta, with designers like Anita Dongre and Tarun Tahiliani creating modern versions with unique cuts, contemporary prints, and chic styling.

Lehenga: The Festive Favorite

The lehenga, a traditional skirt often worn with a matching blouse and dupatta, is a favorite for festive occasions. In modern Indian fashion design, lehengas have undergone a stylish makeover. Designers like Manish Malhotra and Sabysachi have given a contemporary spin to this traditional garment, creating breathtaking designs that blend the old with the new.

While modern Indian fashion design is constantly evolving, it continues to draw inspiration from these traditional silhouettes. The saree, kurta, and lehenga have become symbols of Indian fashion, embodying the country's rich cultural heritage while embracing the innovations of the contemporary fashion scene.

Vibrant Color Palettes

When you think of modern Indian fashion design, vibrant colors likely come to mind. Indian designers are known for their bold and brilliant use of color, which is deeply rooted in the country's culture and traditions.

Symbolism in Colors

Colors in Indian fashion aren't just about aesthetics—they often carry significant meanings. For instance, red symbolizes power and passion, and is a popular choice for bridal wear. Yellow, associated with learning and knowledge, is often worn during educational events. The use of color symbolism in modern Indian fashion design adds a layer of depth and richness to the outfits.

Playful Mix and Match

Indian fashion isn't shy about mixing and matching colors. You'll often see outfits that pair contrasting colors, like deep blues with bright yellows, or earthy greens with vibrant pinks. This playful approach to color palettes makes modern Indian fashion design stand out in the global fashion scene.

Color Blocking: A Modern Twist

Color blocking is a modern trend that has found its way into Indian fashion design. This involves combining blocks of solid colors to create bold and impactful outfits. Designers like Wendell Rodricks and Pankaj & Nidhi have embraced this trend, creating stunning pieces that showcase the eclectic spirit of modern Indian fashion.

The vibrant color palettes of Indian fashion have a way of capturing attention and expressing emotion. Whether it's through symbolic colors, playful mixes, or bold color blocks, modern Indian fashion design uses color to tell a story—one that's as vibrant and diverse as India itself.

Rich Textiles

Another distinctive aspect of modern Indian fashion design is the use of rich textiles. Each region in India has its unique textile traditions, which contemporary designers artfully incorporate into their creations.

Handwoven Fabrics

Handwoven textiles are a significant part of India's heritage, and they continue to play a central role in modern Indian fashion design. You've probably heard of fabrics like Khadi, a hand-spun and hand-woven cloth that was a symbol of India's independence movement. Or the Banarasi silk, renowned for its gold and silver brocade or zari and opulent embroidery.

Prints and Patterns

Indian textiles are famous for their intricate prints and patterns. For example, block printing, an ancient art where carved wooden blocks are used to print patterns on fabric, is still a popular design method. Modern designers often give a contemporary twist to these traditional prints, creating a beautiful blend of old and new.

Embroidery Styles

India is home to numerous embroidery styles, each with its unique charm. From the delicate Chikan embroidery of Lucknow to the vibrant threadwork of Phulkari from Punjab, these traditional techniques are reinterpreted in modern Indian fashion design, adding an exquisite touch to the attire.

The rich textiles of India offer a vast playground for designers to experiment with and express their creativity. The result? Modern Indian fashion designs that are not only visually stunning but also carry the weight of centuries-old traditions.

Ornate Jewelry

Modern Indian fashion design isn't complete without the perfect accessories. And when we talk about accessories, ornate jewelry is at the top of the list. Drawing inspiration from the country's rich history and culture, Indian jewelry adds a touch of glamour and sophistication to any outfit.

Gold Jewellery

Gold has been a staple in Indian jewelry for centuries, symbolizing wealth and prosperity. From chunky gold bangles to intricate necklaces, the use of gold in jewelry remains a constant in modern Indian fashion design. It's the ultimate way to make a statement!

Gemstone Embellishments

Indian jewelry is also known for its vibrant gemstone embellishments. Whether it's the deep red of a ruby, the royal blue of a sapphire, or the calming green of an emerald, the use of colourful gemstones adds a pop of colour and a touch of luxury to any outfit.

Contemporary Designs

While traditional designs have their place, modern Indian fashion design is also about innovation. Many contemporary jewelry designers are creating pieces that blend traditional elements with modern aesthetics. The result is unique, trendy pieces that can elevate any outfit.

Whether you're dressing for a special occasion or just want to add some sparkle to your everyday look, ornate jewelry is a must-have in your fashion arsenal. After all, who can resist the allure of a little bling?

If you're excited about Indian fashion design and want to learn more about how technology is transforming the industry, check out the workshop 'What is Digital Fashion?' by Beata Wilczek. This workshop will provide you with insights into the world of digital fashion and help you understand its impact on traditional fashion design, including Indian styles.