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Debate: Traditional clothes or western trends?

Published Jul 17, 2010 12:00am

Our appearance is greatly affected by the clothes we wear and it is because of this reason that a growing number of people have begun to question whether we should wear our traditional clothes or follow western trends.

Youngsters today argue that we must learn to go with the flow and therefore taking up new trends is a better option. A handful of people still believe that our traditional clothes represent our culture and identity and to let go of them will be like discarding our own culture.

However, I feel western trends tend to offer freedom of expression. One can add his or her own tastes and ideas to them and they are quite classy, stylish and attractive. Following new trends help people, especially teenagers, cope with peer pressure and it even results in the acceptance among liberal and contemporary people. This is because of the fact that it sets a good impression on others by signifying that you are very much in touch the world and come from a polished background.

Furthermore, it is believed that modern clothes make youngsters feel confident as they know that they are portraying a modern image of themselves and help them from becoming a prey of self-consciousness. They are convenient, comfortable and give us the option of flexibility in the sense that we can change our dressing style day in and day out. You do not have to clutch your qameez or hold on to your dupatta every time a breeze blows through.

Traditional clothes on the other hand, represent our culture and identity. It is necessary to hold on to them if we wish to preserve our traditions. If we are not going to promote our customs then nobody will, and it is likely that it will become extinct. People who go abroad tend to adapt western trends prevailing there, forgetting their national identity and traditions. However, they should keep in mind that their identity is represented by the way they dress.

Furthermore, people wearing their national dresses symbolise unity. A research conducted on this subject showed that youngsters wearing traditional clothes, irrespective of western pressure, had fewer behavioural and emotional problems. The reason being that they are in touch with their ancestral culture, religion and traditions and thus not confused about their identity or who they are!

I personally believe that we should keep a balance in all things and hence, it is inappropriate for one to completely set aside their traditional clothes and become a follower of western trend, or vice versa. We can still follow western trends but should not shy away from our traditional clothes. This way we will be following new trends, yet promoting our culture and be very much attached to our roots.