Text and pictures: Gopal MS


If you go to the Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum in Mumbai, the metro's 'city museum', you will find a large section which showcases the communities that built the city during the colonial era. The men and women of community represented here wear their own signature, or 'traditional' clothes that served as their identifiers: traders, workers, bankers, business people, fisherfolk to name a few.

The fabrics they wore then were mostly handmade, and as colourful as the natural dyes of the era allowed them to be. Times have changed now and not all of us dress based on caste or religion always. Yet, we have our own codes of dressing and fabrics that we identify with. This is true of towns and villages across India, just as much as it is of cities here. We, the common people, have our style that’s more practical than fashionable, has more individuality than the signature of a famous designer.

It’s not possible to do justice to the kapda of nearly 1.3 billion Aam Indians but the next time you look in the mirror or pass someone on the street, have another, more deliberate look.  You'll be surprised by how interestingly we dress.


Streets of Bengaluru

On the left: Ulsoor, Bangalore. 
commonly seen attire of the government employees in the mid 20th century in many parts of the Deccan, The coat.

On the right: Shivajinagar, Bangalore.
Indian Che. The working clothes of butcher  


On the left: Pydhonie, Mumbai
The elaborate dress to mark a festive procession. Inspired by tradition or is it the influence of theater and mythological TV drama?

On the right: Danda Village
The matriarchs of the two Koli families dressed in their traditional best for a wedding between the two families. 

From the Mumbai Local 

on the left: Harbour Line
A simple handkerchief provides privacy in a crowded local train.

On the right: Vile Parle.
The usual, boring shirt can sometimes have the most interesting patterns and prints. The material may differ depending on the location but the design speaks a colourful language.

Streets of Mumbai

on the Left: Andheri, Mumbai.
Accessories of the Indian mendicant. Collected from all over India and an identity marker for their beliefs.

on the Right: CST. Mumbai.
A roadside key and trinklet seller's clothes are his wares and some style to attract customers who are usually tourists.

Bandra, Mumbai
When you are homeless, your clothes are your home. Let's pause to acknowledge this wise man's effort!


MG road, Mumbai
A group of dancers dress colourfully to stand-out and make a statement about what they love. Looks like denim paired with bright coloured shirts and jackets is the preferred way!

kutch, gujarat
Daily winter clothes of the muslim community of the region.

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Rapar, Kutch.
The traditional clothes that are just right for the arid and extreme weather is still the norm. The designs, wow.

Gopal MS is a copywriter who works for an ad agency and a blogger who documents the streets of Mumbai at MumbaiPaused. The title of this piece is inspired from his #aamaadmiart series. 

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