Hamilton, January 10, 2024
As the global fashion stage continually evolves, certain colours emerge to define an era, encapsulating both the zeitgeist and the spirit of the times.
In 2023, one colour has undeniably taken centre stage – red. Bold, powerful, and unapologetically expressive, red has transcended its traditional connotations to become a symbol of passion, confidence, and individuality in the contemporary fashion landscape.
Fashion runways around the world have been ablaze with shades of red, creating a visual spectacle that captures attention and ignites the imagination. Leading designers have embraced colour, incorporating it into their collections in diverse and innovative ways. From fiery crimson to deep maroon, red has been the focal point of outfits ranging from haute couture gowns to streetwear ensembles.
Renowned fashion critic Alexandra Thompson said, “Red is not merely a colour in the 2023 fashion world; it is a statement. It speaks to a generation that refuses to be confined by societal norms, embracing individuality and the power that comes with it.”
Symbolism of Strength and Power
In the fashion landscape of 2023, red was more than just a colour. it was a symbol of strength and empowerment. Designers harnessed the energy of red to create silhouettes that exude confidence and resilience. Power suits in bold shades of scarlet have become a staple, empowering both men and women with a sense of authority and sophistication.
Furthermore, accessories such as red pumps, handbags, and statement jewellery have become key elements in elevating outfits, adding a touch of glamour and drama to everyday fashion. The symbolism of red as a colour associated with courage and determination resonates strongly with a generation that seeks to make a bold statement in every aspect of their lives.
Sustainability and Red
As the fashion industry undergoes a paradigm shift towards sustainability, the colour red has found its place in eco-conscious fashion. Designers are exploring eco-friendly dyeing techniques, using natural pigments to create stunning red hues without compromising the environment. This intersection of bold aesthetics and sustainable practices reflects a growing awareness within the industry and among consumers.
In the kaleidoscope of India’s rich cultural tapestry, the red colour stands out prominently. A hue that has transcended mere visual aesthetics, red holds a profound significance deeply rooted in the nation’s history, spirituality, and cultural ethos. From the vibrant sarees adorning women to the iconic red sandstone of ancient architecture, the colour red has woven itself into the very fabric of India’s identity.
Red holds profound spiritual symbolism in Hinduism, the predominant religion in India. It is associated with concepts of energy, power, and the divine feminine. The goddess Durga, a powerful and revered deity, is often depicted clad in red, signifying strength and protection. Similarly, the vermilion mark (sindoor) applied by married Hindu women symbolises auspiciousness and marital bliss.
In Indian weddings, red is the colour of choice for bridal attire. The red saree worn by the bride symbolises fertility, passion, and the auspicious beginning of a new life. The centuries-old tradition of applying henna, often infused with red dye, during wedding celebrations further reinforces the cultural significance of red in matrimonial rituals.
Red also represents the Hindu goddess Durga, who symbolises new beginnings and feminine power.”
History of red
To understand the significance of red in India, one must delve into its historical roots. As far back as the ancient Indus Valley Civilisation, red ochre was used not only as a pigment but also for religious and ritualistic purposes. The Vedas, the sacred texts of Hinduism, mention the importance of red in various ceremonies, symbolising purity and divine connection.
The Mauryan and Gupta empires, pivotal in shaping ancient India, utilised red extensively in their art and architecture. The renowned Sanchi Stupa, commissioned by Emperor Ashoka, features intricate carvings adorned with red pigment, portraying the cultural integration of red into the societal narrative.
By the 1500s, India was sending madder root-dyed chintzes as far as Spain and other parts of Europe. During that time, red clothing was a signifier of status and power. “The red dye was very expensive and therefore only wealthy people could afford it,” said Lorenza Smith, an art history professor at the Fashion Institute of Technology. “At that time, it was not really the cut and the design of the clothing that was important. It was the level of the dye.”
“Red will be used to its fullest expressive power and sexiness,” one fashion school wrote in November 2023 of the fall trend. “This fiery hue is no longer just an accent in a dress or lipstick, as it will play a more central, sensual, and mysterious role in women’s and men’s fashion.”
For South Asians, red is not something that will come in and out of vogue or become an even more central role. The strength and cosmic energy of rudhira have always been intrinsic to the region and its people.
Praneeta Mahajan is an Indian Newslink reporter based in Hamilton.