First the news. Swedish fashion chain H&M launches its Delhi outlet on October 2, 2015. Pause. Read that again. If you didn’t realise already, October 2 happens to be Gandhi Jayanti, the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. Remember the whole “swadeshi” (Indian-made) versus “videshi” (foreign) debate? Ironical, to say the least!
At last count, H&M’s event page on Facebook had 16,000 signed up for its opening. This is probably the same thinking that got people to queue up to click selfies with their coffee when Starbucks came to the city. For fashionistas, a chance to look up close at the H&M Studio AW15 line that was presented at Paris Fashion Week is not to be missed.
For Gandhi, incidentally, handloom and khadi went beyond a fashion choice and was a tool for social change. To quote Peter Gonsalves in Clothing for Liberation: A Communication Analysis of Gandhi’s Swadeshi Revolution, published by Sage, “…Caught between the two conflicting fashion systems, all Indians were forced to reveal whether they were for imperialism or for independence simply by dressing the way they chose. The sartorial became the political.”
But, hey, it’s a national holiday and we’re all part of a global village, aren’t we? It’s a day when the junta is free to stand up and be counted as the first 1,000 get themselves a limited edition H&M India tote bag. The first three in queue get gift cards up to Rs. 15,000. And who can beat that? And as for what the Father of the Nation would think, well, kids will be kids, right?
What do you think…could H&M not have rubbed it in our faces that Gandhi Jayanti is just another holiday for us folks in the city? Or should we just drop the pretence already? Write in and tell us at firstname.lastname@example.org.