Gone are the days when the young brigade used to don tee-shirts with The Rolling Stones tongue and lips insignia or Milton Glaser’s “I ª New York” message or Che Guevara’s landmark picture. The desi trend has caught the imagination of the young generation with desi slogan tees becoming the favoured mode of expression.From Bollywood pop to mythology, from funny one-liners to a generous dose of sarcasm to cultural icons, the images and expressions are going the Indian way. What looks like a fashion transition is a veritable movement taking place with desi slogan tees. Sociologist Ashis Nandy says, “Society is undergoing a change. The urban masses represent an anonymous culture. In the present world you need markers to identify yourself — be it intellectually, politically, socially or culturally. It is these factors that are reinforcing this trend.”
So, if earlier it was Ché that ruled the chest spaces, now it’s more about Indian icons who represent rebellion. “Expressing your thoughts by what you wear is not a new trend. But now, we are exploring the various subcultures of our own country. We are going back to our roots. There is a lot of expression involved, verbal and visual, with a story behind it,” says Himanshu Dogra, owner, Play Clan. “The youth are more inclined towards a revolutionary mindest. Now, it’s more of Bhagat Singh than Gandhi. Times have changed and so has the mindset,” says Harinder Singh, owner, 1469, a Punjabi-themed line of tees.
“Desi tees are cool and retro. It’s so deep-rooted,” says actor Mini Mathur.
“It’s nicer to show your thoughts and attitude rather than a brand,” says television host Pooja Bedi.
Desi-styled tee-shirts are in great demand with the city’s youth. While most of these tees are ‘in your face’, one can clearly see that there’s a lot of thinking involved in the presentation. Ishaan, a Delhi University student, says, “Such tees are integral to my wardrobe. They straddle the domains of taboo talk, cultural diversity and ultimately being at peace with one’s mind — put together in a slick package. I think one should be part of this trend. Wear what you think!” designer and celebrity stylist Manjari Jindal says it’s a novel way of grabbing attention and making a statement. It’s a socially relevant and a non-boring way to get across a message. The trend clearly indicates that the preachy reserves are taking a backseat and the young are all set to infuse desi kitsch into contemporary fashion.