Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Over the weekend, when I was at my parents’ house I was surprised by yet another gift from my mom, a Salwar Kameez. And guess what- It didn’t fit me. I was mad, but it wasn’t the first time this has happened. So I asked her to return it but there was the catch—She can’t, because she ordered the dress from a high-end boutique in India and had it shipped here. Talk about diaspora connections! These dresses are expensive and can run from $100-$500 and as I found out there is a new style every season. So, women buy new clothes every season which are ridiculously overpriced, I think. Anyways, the Salwar Kameez didn’t fit me and there is no way I can return it or exchange it. So I am stuck with an ill-fitting dress that I do not like.

This incident serves as an example of diasporic connections that Raghuram and Hardill write about in their article. Indian diaspora populations have connections back home in the form of these boutiques which primarily cater to overseas populace. There is a rising trend of importing clothes from India which are “in” currently, as opposed to the stores selling “outdated” items here. There is a network established by women here who send for clothes from the boutiques and are willing to pay high prices. My mom found out about it from a friend and immediately placed an order. There is an uprising of a new industry that caters just to overseas Indians who are willing to pay big bucks for their orders and the local boutique owners make every effort to rip them off. And like the clothes shops in London, this sort of business "feed many diaspora clothes markets." (Bhachu) Hence, I think it is only a matter of time until this sort of fashion industry, if it hasn’t already (come on, even my mom knows about it!) becomes more widespread among the Indians overseas who are looking for more trendy and up-to-date fashion. Who knows, maybe even mainstream fashion can draw from it or contribute to it.

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