Explosivefashion Logo
 
 

UNIFORM MESS

Sathya Saran  (click here to know more about this blogger)

There is no doubt about it. Almost among the most difficult of garments to get perfectly cut and fitted is the jacket. Perhaps, it ranks only after the bra, which as any good bra manufacturer will tell you, is an architectural marvel that in its attempt to mimic an intriguing part of the female body is made up of many invisibly joined parts.

The jacket, (or for that matter, the coat) on the other hand, is not micro architecture. Its lines are bolder and more defined. Yet it requires skill: an understanding of fabric and dexterity with the scissors.. the ability to layer cloth over cloth without losing the qualities of either the lining material or the outer fabric. Then there is the question of fit, and fall, with the shoulders fitted in such a manner that the rest of the garment flatters the torso.. giving it not just concealment but dignity and a carriage that the wearer might not otherwise be able to blessed with. Little wonder, the jacket has always been the chosen garment for when the occasion demands a certain formality or a stance that implies it.
 
Much of this inherent quality of a jacket has been lost in the long style road that Indians have walked  in recent years. Jackets have descended to fit shoulders of all and sundry, losing their aristocratic origins and gaining democratic sanction. Becoming in the process a token of formality. Walk the streets outside a government office in Delhi, and in the jackets and coats hanging loosely on the shoulders of the men lounging on the grass, you will see this statement justified. Naturally, with demand, supply grows. The careful structuring then gives way to a slap dash construction.. barely giving thought to fit and fall or the give and take of complimentary fabrics. That is the way change affects everything.. clothing not excluded. Attitudes and stances have always been mirrored in the clothes we wear and their changing shapes and I have no quarrel with that. My quarrel is with quite another aspect of change. The concept of a uniform.
 
Often I have taken this up with those in charge. Enter a high-end jewellery store and the last thing you expect is to see saleswomen dressed in black pants and jacket meant to signify professionalism. Jewellery is something that demands some pomp and show, a certain grace, to reflect the image the product would create when the buyer dons it. Ceremonial, splendorous, regal perhaps. The ill-cut jacket and pants sported by women whose bodies have not learnt to carry well the garb they sport shatters the mood. To me it is the equivalent of watching a white wedding in a church where the bride and groom walk in wearing flip-flops!! Quite the same effect is achieved by most of the sales people behind cosmetic counters selling International brands in malls. How much more effective to dress the jewellery saleswomen in silk with a touch of elegant jewellery (even if it's only gold coated) to articulate the mood of the products crafted with so much care and gleaming inside the glass shelves.
 
Equally out of place was the attire of blue coat and trousers, both stitched in some flapping, spineless fabric worn by a bunch of giggling girls who were either working in an office or attending some course. The sin compounded by their footwear, which consisted of rubber waterproof chappals. The belief that wearing formal clothes adds seriousness and a uniform code of dress formalizes an event does quite the opposite if the formality is not carried right through in the structure of the garment and the demeanor of the wearer. Uniforms too require a certain discipline, with everything from the thickness of the cloth to the length, cut and fit spelt out and adhered to, to a T. Fitting bodies of varying shapes into mass produced western formals stitched without due knowledge of the garment's intricacies is a cardinal sin against both the wearer and the purpose the garment is worn for, in the first place. Simpler to have let the girls be comfortable and look smart in well stitched salwar suits which are available in admirably cut innumerable variations in malls across the country. 
 
Here then is a case for cutting the garment according to the wearer. Of being proud of being Indian, of realizing that in our colors and prints, drapes and cuts lie secrets which the West looks to, to find new expressions. We have our own history of coats and formal wear. The long coat was worn by Asians perhaps much earlier than in the West and even today we have plenty of variations of that original. Let us then find ways to blend the  formality of that garment and its Western avatars with the intrinsic qualities our clothes have historically possessed to create uniforms where required. Creators of uniforms have to keep in mind that the garment will be worn by myriad body shapes and varying heights and it has to look effective on  each one of them. Adaptation is the key. As organizations like Jet Airways, for example have shown, a little thought to combining Indian and Western elements can bring life even to a uniform. Though Italian by birth and training, designer Roberto Capucci, has kept the Indian identity strong in the uniforms of both Jet and Jetlite thus making a truly global statement.
 
Surely our Indian designers will do that too if asked to by corporates. Let us not lose what we have while trying be what we are not! A copycat nation!!
 
Jet Airways uniform
 
03-AUGUST-2013
 
Share us on :
Join us on:  
 
1 Comments
 
05-AUGUST-2013 Meher Castelino
Interesting observation and something that companies should think about. Many top fashion stores uniform their staff in dull unimaginative clothes that don't speak well of their brand
 
 
Post a Comment
 

MORE BLOGS BY Sathya Saran

 
2018-05-26 06:37:25 ADVICE FOR WANNABE FASHIONISTAS
 
2016-06-27 08:33:37 SPA INDULGENCE IN MAURITIUS
 
2016-06-04 08:58:44 MAKING A DIFFERENCE
 
2016-05-19 16:28:49 POEMS ON THE FEET
 
2016-04-26 14:54:39 I AM NOT THE TYPICAL TOURIST!
 
2015-12-13 08:04:11 VISUAL TEXTILE HISTORY OF LUCKNOW
 
2015-09-14 12:46:43 Learnings from Mysore Fashion Week
 
2015-02-20 13:20:07 NO ONE HAS TO KNOW
 
2014-10-27 12:37:32 Beyond the handkerchief square of sky!
 
2014-09-07 07:38:03 SEARCH FOR THE FIRAN
 
2014-06-20 10:00:26 IN DEFENCE OF THE DUPATTA
 
2014-03-09 07:43:43 IN SEARCH OF A CHOLI
 
2013-12-10 07:39:53 THE WOW FACTOR
 
2013-10-07 13:32:46 INHABITING THE HAB
 
2013-08-29 07:16:36 MUSINGS ON LAKME FASHION WEEK
 
2013-06-30 10:06:45 Shawls, Mouflers, Socks!!
 
2013-05-08 07:06:51 HOW MUCH IS TOO MUCH?
 
2013-04-26 02:13:16 THE GREEN SHIRT
 
2013-03-05 08:30:57 TRENCH COAT. THE WORD IS LOADED.
 
2013-02-07 04:18:58 COSTUME DESIGNERS: OUR UNSUNG HEROES?
 
2013-01-08 13:48:15 YOUR CLOTHES MUST TELL A STORY
 
2012-12-06 14:11:23 THE SARI
 
2012-11-05 05:37:08 One man's measure of luxury, to celebrate another!
 
2012-11-03 02:48:46 SHRUJAN: MOVEMENT TO REVITALIZE TRADITIONAL CRAFT
 
2012-10-20 07:10:24 Harry Winston and V-and-A Hollywood exhibition
 
2012-10-11 12:18:19 A MICHELIN MEAL IN SOUTH-EAST OF FRANCE
 
2012-09-01 06:45:47 A FASHION TALK
 
2012-08-19 09:16:35 BOOK REVIEW: THE GREEN ROOM BY WENDELL RODRICKS