In this path-breaking and entertaining study, the author concentrates on the problem of what to wear rather than describing what is worn. She demonstrates how different individuals and groups have used clothes to assert power, challenge authority, define or conceal identity, and instigate or prevent social change at various levels of Indian society from the village to the nation. Three main issues are addressed: questions of national identity as seen through the clothing controversies of the Indian elite in the late colonial period; questions of local identity as experienced by women in rural Gujarat; and the recent development of urban fashion trends which reappropriate regional styles. Emma Tarlo demonstrates the complexity of interaction between these different levels of sartorial change. Thus she combines ethnographic analysis of Gandhi's loincloth and village embroidery with a rich depiction of the importance of clothing in India. The work is amply illustrated with over 100 photographs, advertisements and cartoons.
Publisher: C Hurst & Co Publishers Ltd