The timeless nature of a garment is what makes plays a major role in making is sustainable. Along with the added features of ease, comfort and utility, has made salwar, or variations of the same a staple in all of collections by crow. The love for the garment is universal and traces back to centuries where the relevance of the piece has not faded away, even after all this time. It is the favourite dress of working women as well as homemakers because it provides absolute freedom of movement without deviating from the traditional roots. It was an amalgamation of the tunic and loose pants worn by the Mughals and the draped outfits worn by the indigenous common folk. Today, it is worn by women almost on a daily basis and is considered to be one of the most comfortable garments to wear.
In their most basic form, Salwars are loose pajama-like trousers. The legs are wide at the top, and narrow at the bottom. The legs are pleated or gathered into a waistband with a drawstring. The pants can be wide and baggy, or they can be cut quite narrow, on the bias. In the latter case, they are known as churidar. Even Today , in northern parts of India, it is considered an emblem of culture, once which gained popularity by being worn to war or for protection from winter, has continued to pave its way as a favourite through generations.
THE INTERESTING BIT – VARIED ORIGINS
The word suthan is derived from the Sanskrit word svasthana, which means tight fitting trousers. This, in turn, derives from the Central Asian word samstamni.
The suthan are trousers cut straight and tight, as opposed to the salwar, which is baggy and can be full of folds.The Salwar Kameez is believed to have originated in the Mughal era, where the outfit used to be a combination of a tunic and loose pants. the first traditional salwar kameez was designed and worn by the Turkic-Iranian horse riding people of Central Asia.
The garments of Mughal ladies were made of the finest muslins, silks, velvets, and brocades. The muslins used for their clothes were of three types: Ab-e-Rawan (running water), Baft Hawa (woven air), and Shabnam (evening dew). Muslins called Shabnam were brought from Dacca and were famous as Dhaka malmal
A version of the svasthana has been noted in ancient India which sticks to the calves with narrow circumferences of the lower opening. This is similar to the Punjabi ghuttana which is loose at the thighs and tightens at the knees and ends at the calves This suggests that the use of the suthan is indigenous to the Punjab region.
The National Review (1925) notes that the suthan was in much use in the Punjab, generally in white washable cloth but on feast days of rich material such as Lahore silk.
THE THREE PARALLELS
Before the popular style of salwar came into existence, there were three considerable styles of trousers that lasted for quite a bit, and are considered to have influenced or be an inspiration of the salwar as we know it today.
Loose Punjabi Suthan : It was noted by Alberuni in the 11th century C.E. that the local drawers are of gigantic proportions.This could point to the loose Punjabi suthan which, unlike the Punjabi salwar, had multiple pleats and is very baggy with many folds. The suthan could also be arranged in plaits. Up to 20 yards of cloth can be used which hangs in innumerable folds. Some varieties, such as those of Chakwal, could use between 30 and 40 yards of cloth which are made with overhanging pleats. The material used for the suthan was traditionally coloured cotton with silk lines going down and is called sussi.
Tight Punjabi Suthan : The tight Punjabi suthan is a variation of the ancient svasthana, and was still popular in the Punjab region in the 19th century. The tight suthan is baggy from the knees up and tight from the knees down to the ankles.The tight suthan remained popular in the East Punjab into the 1960s.
Churidar Suthan : It was worn in the Punjab mountainous region especially by the Gujjar community in the foothills of Punjab, India, and Himachal Pradeshwhereby the upper part is loose but below the knees, the tight part is sewn in folds to create a bangles look. When worn in Jammu, the suthan is referred to as Dogri pants or Dogri suthan. Where the churidar suthan is tight up to the knees and wide above, the churidar pajama is tight below the calves and slightly loose above.
PUNJABI SALWAR OR SALWAR
In its strictest sense, the salwar is baggy and loose straight down the legs, and gathered loosely at the ankles. During the medieval period, people adopted the Iraqi style of salwar in Multan and neighbouring Sindh. This type of salwar is traditionally very baggy and gathered at the ankles. It is still worn by the Kurdish community in Iraq. The presence of the baggy salwar was noted by Alberuni in the 11th century A.D. and continued to be envogue between the 16th and 18th centuries C.E. in Multan.
The original Punjabi loose salwar was not as baggy as the Multani style but was wide, with the gathering at the ankles being wide enough to cover the feet. Originally, up to ten yards of cloth was used to make Punjabi salwars. The original Punjabi salwar was also not as baggy as other forms of the salwar, such as the type worn in Afghanistan. Punjabi suthan, and gathers more quickly below the knees and ends in a tight band. Eventually the modern Punjabi salwar came into being which is slim fitting and does not have wide ends as before.
SALWAR AT CROW
Given the brilliance of the garment, it was no doubt that salwar would find a special place at the heart of crow. But what it required was an intelligent take on the garment, so that it is made relevant for the modern time, without losing the essence of the piece. The beautiful contemporization of the garment happened when, we, at crow broke the garment into it’s various design features, and then started picking up on them, for our various pieces, for example combining an elasticated waist band with a gathered leg trouser, or a drawstring in place of a waist band with a wide leg trouser, for comfort. Have a look at all styles under the ‘bottoms’ section, on our website, and we hope you find traces of salwar, along with it’s legacy in your wardrobe soon!