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Fashion with Social Freedom

Kanika Bhatia

Kanika Bhatia, founder of luxury fashion brand Anome Couture, shares how a collective paradigm shift is vital in letting a woman choose her comfortable fashion without any pressure. 

It’s a ‘brave new world’! Assuming Huxley wouldn’t sue me for stealing the title, I hereon continue how it’s nothing short of a revolution, each day, when a large number of us scan through our wardrobe to pick up anything other than mesh of clothes. The fearlessness with which we choose pants, skirts or, all hell lose, short dresses over curtain drapes to hide our less than perfect, anything but model figures is commendable.

Aren’t we the generation that’s extra sensitive about body shaming, propagandists for #LoveThyBody, and yet the very same cluster of people that addresses plus size women ‘brave’ for donning a bikini on the beach. This over abused term also highlights judging people on the way they choose to express sexuality, through clothing or movement or denying certain people the right to express it based on their body type. Who says pear means a conservative swimsuit and only S shape deserves the bodice? Who asked you to slow clap when a plus size woman picked that short dress for her date tonight?

Picture this, every time you got dressed to step out, people perceived it as some kind of socio-political stance, or an obstacle you’ve overcome. Have you ever seen someone walk up to the cashier at food marts, take their hand earnestly and tearfully tell them, “You’re so brave for wearing that red polo shirt?” Obviously not!

By the same logic (as new a term as this maybe) calling a woman brave for wearing the appropriate attire for an activity like relaxing by the beach makes no sense. I have never, in my life, looked at a woman rider with helmet on, and thought to myself, “How courageous of her messing up her hair, just to protect her skull” or at a woman with rented bowling shoes and thought, “How noble, how courageous is she who bears the curse of rented shoes with pride!”

Am I dismissing this ‘anti-fit’ rage of fashion? No, not at all. I am only against this need to push this fashion for women who wouldn’t look ‘decent’ in well-fitted jumpers? Let’s not patronize women subtly to display our intolerance towards body shaping as a concept. How very hypocritical!

I did not start Anome for only size 4-6 as a lot of people have pointed out. And I solemnly believe there will be a lot of other designers like me. ‘Made to measure’ specifies the same, sadly I had to write an article to shout it out. I have styled a lot of women who do not fit the perfect figure bill and they have loved how the patterns flatter their curves. Don’t you think a lot of this ‘I do not wish to step out of my comfort zone’ or ‘It’s not flattering’ is instilled in us courtesy these plus size body judgements? What a shame! A woman is unable to have a wardrobe of her choice (most basic right) because someone somewhere shattered her confidence as she walked around in that short pick. My own mother has picked separate wardrobe styles for me and my sister, because I was the ‘blessed’ one apparently.

The correction started at home!

Anome has made me meet brilliant women who need to go through filters to wear an outfit of their choice, yeah, no kidding! The husband or mother-in-law, moral policing or discouraging the lady courtesy her baby weight generally. Let the woman be, let her decide her comfort and discomforts. She does not need an award for valour or admiration for her heroic act of skimpy fashion. She needs space to grow and choose. Can you do that please?