Ishita Mangal on exploring India through fabrics through her #IshtatesofIndia series

Piyush Singh
New Update
Ishita Mangal

Ishita Mangal explores India's rich cultural narrative through her #IshtatesofIndia, making us understand the significance of different patterns and styles. We had a little chat with her, discussing the inspiration behind it.

India's cultural richness is woven with threads of ancient traditions, diverse customs, and a harmonious blend of various influences, and it is vividly manifested in its art, music, dance, architecture, and, notably, its attire. The fabrics, colors, and craftsmanship that we so proudly own reflect our deep-rooted history and varied traditions. But even with them being part of our lives, we barely take a moment to be amazed by them. We love to dress up in traditional fits, but the idea of understanding the significance of the art behind it rarely crosses our minds. India's cultural richness is an invitation to explore a heritage that is both timeless and ever-evolving, and Ishita Mangal attempts to do that with her #IshtatesofIndia series.

From the timeless Banarasi silk of Uttar Pradesh to the vibrant Bandhani of Gujarat and the graceful Kanjeevaram silk of Tamil Nadu, she tries to showcase the evolution and adaptation of traditional fashion. It only takes us to watch a few videos of the series to realize how Indian textiles and fashion are not just an expression of style but also powerful narrators of India's culture. We are amazed by the way Ishita presents these stories, and we had a little chat with her, where she discussed the inspiration behind this series. 

Also Read: Creating festive fashion content ft. Riya Turakhia

Here’s her story! 

Can you tell us about the inspiration behind starting the #IshtatesofIndia series and your passion for traditional Indian fabrics and attires?

The series aimed not only to educate the audience about various crafts but also to inspire them to consider wearing or purchasing the showcased items. There is a prevailing concern about the decline of handloom traditions, primarily driven by the younger generation's reluctance to invest in such art forms. Another challenge lies is the lack of awareness surrounding many of these crafts. My vision is to curate looks in a manner that resonates with a broad audience, as culture can maintain its relevance only when it transcends boundaries and reaches beyond specific communities.

Your content often includes demonstrations and discussions about how to drape or wear traditional outfits. What inspired you to educate your audience in this way?

Traditional outfits have transformed into occasional attire for the majority of us. These expensive ensembles are reserved exclusively for specific events and subsequently stashed away in our closets until another suitable occasion arises. Consequently, many individuals often resort to purchasing new outfits, perpetuating this cycle. My objective is to demonstrate the versatility of these garments through various draping techniques and styling, illustrating how a single item can be adorned in multiple ways to suit different occasions. This approach fosters a culture of reutilization and provides people with creative ideas for repurposing the items they already possess.

India is known for its rich textile heritage. How do you research and source information about the fabrics, weaves, and traditional clothing of each state you feature?

Research forms the core of the series we produce, serving as its central element. The entire video is built around this research process. We meticulously compile a comprehensive list of all the states and then catalog the crafts for which each state is renowned. Subsequently, we select a craft that aligns with my style or resonates with me at that particular moment. Additionally, we engage with residents of the state to gain a deeper understanding of their culture, language, and craft traditions. While this process may be time-consuming, the resulting outcome is immensely gratifying. The most fulfilling aspect is when individuals from diverse cultural backgrounds choose to purchase these crafts. It imparts a profound sense of accomplishment.

In your opinion, what is the significance of traditional clothing in today's fast-paced, modern world, and how does it connect people to their roots and heritage?

Traditional clothing has a unique ability to provide individuals with a sense of comfort, grounding, and connection to their cultural roots. Despite the fast-paced nature of modern life, there is an inherent desire in all of us to pause occasionally and embrace our cultural heritage. While it's true that we may not don traditional attire as frequently as our ancestors did, our connection to it remains deeply rooted. It is crucial to remind ourselves of the enduring value that these crafts hold and will continue to hold for generations to come. There's nothing quite like having a piece of tradition within our wardrobes to be taken out on special occasions, offering a glimpse of our cultural appreciation and personal taste.

How do you believe such content contributes to the preservation and revitalization of traditional Indian clothing and textiles?

As a content creator, I understand the immense pride and sense of value people experience when they encounter a reflection of their culture in the content I produce. My role is to ensure that they recognize that their cherished craft is far from being forgotten or obsolete. It holds profound significance for me, as well as for my audience, who actively engage with the content and learn from it. I believe that this not only encourages them to consider purchasing the craft I showcase but also prompts them to reevaluate the items they hold dear. It may inspire them to unearth these treasures from the depths of their closets and wear them once more during upcoming festive occasions. I don't need to introduce people to the craft; they are already familiar with it. My purpose is to remind them that I acknowledge it, value it, and am ready to embrace it alongside them.

Your work has likely influenced many to appreciate and embrace Indian culture. What advice do you have for those who want to explore and celebrate the traditional fabrics and attires of India?

India's tradition and attire encompass an immense tapestry of choices. Rather than blindly following trends, individuals should opt for garments that resonate with their personality. These textiles have the potential to endure not only this generation but many more to come, becoming cherished heirlooms. When adorning traditional attire, it is crucial to approach it with reverence for its cultural and religious significance. Supporting artisans and sustainable practices is paramount. While celebrating the beauty of Indian traditions, it is equally important to respect their intricate nuances. Yet, don't forget to infuse your unique personality and style, for that is what renders each textile truly exceptional. It's not just the fabric; it's the captivating story woven within it.

So, the next time you pick up a traditional fit, make sure to wonder about the story behind it.

For more creator-related content follow us at @socialketchup

Ishita Mangal Indian diverse fashion IshtatesofIndia series