Vegan Models, Fashion, Campaigns & Activism


We should highlight some of the sexier things in the vegan world. There are many perks to eating a more plant based diet but one of the best is the radiant physical beauty. This a multimedia project promoting veganism by exposing vegan beauty, strength and diversity.  

The Importance of Color in a Bridal Dress


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According to the Indian Hindu traditions, the bride wears the color red. Along with the red sari (worn most parts of the country), red lehnga (worn by the Punjabi brides), it is almost necessary to wear red colored ornaments. The glass made bangles, bindi and sindoor (vermillion) are required to be red in color. Hands and feet are adorned with henna designs. Hence, red plays an important part in a traditional Hindu wedding.

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The brides of Jews and Christian wear white colored gowns. This pristine color represents spiritual purity and clarity of the bride. The bride is always covered in white from head to toe; even the flowers she holds are supposed to be white. The veil, which adorns the head and covers the face, is also white in color is a sign of virginity. However, until the nineteenth century the Christian women in Finland were allowed to wear dark colored wedding gowns. Only by the end of that century they started a culture of wearing only white.

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The African bridal wear has colors and patterns that represent their village. Traditional African patterns are vibrant, especially in traditional colors like red, yellow, black and green.

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The girl in the picture above is wearing a wedding dress called Youraba, A dress worn by the brides of West Africa. The dress is typically hand painted and embroidered with stone and shell embellishments.

A bride from Morocco is always seen in the glorious colors of green and yellow. The color green is for the plants and also brings good luck where as the color yellow is said to drive the evil eye away. Their brides dress called a Caftan is made out of delicate laces, and often intricately beaded. The hands are painted with henna that is usually floral and geometrical designs that are meant to ward off evil spirits and bring good luck and increase fertility. The grooms name is often hidden in the henna designs.

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Brides from Korea are often seen wearing a lime-green Wonsam or Hwarrot worn over the traditional wedding dress, the Hanbok. The Womsam and Hwarrot are embroidered with flowers and butterflies, and banded with red, symbolizing heaven; indigo, for earth; and yellow for humanity. The bride's hands are covered in white, the symbol of respect.

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In a traditional Shinto style wedding, a Japanese bride wears a white silk Kimono (Iro-uchikaka) lined with red. This symbolizes happiness and a new beginning.

The bright and colorful Kimono originated in the Edo era and was originally worn by court nobles. Rich in fine embroidered patterns, the uchikake is embellised with scenes of flowers, cranes, pines, flower carts or nature motifs. The bridal kimono is sometimes handed down in the family or made into futon bedding later in life. A fan is worn in the obi belt for tradition holds that the gradual widening of the open fan implies happiness and thus brings a happy future.



A traditional Roman Catholic bride from Spain would wear a black gowns and lacy mantillas to show their devotion until death.

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Coming over to the Americans, they did not always believe white was traditional. During the Revolutionary War, some brides wore red to symbolize the independence the Colonists desired. Other brides wore purple, which represents honor and courage during the Civil War as a tribute to the dead.

Hence, it proves that each nation has significant colors, for their brides. The bridal color of various nations may differ but at the end they all wish good luck for the wife to be.

Editorial Team

Monsoon Fashion - Rain Clothes Can Be Fun

In Monsoon rain the natural protection is good for pocket and our globe too.

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But, we Indians have a history to struggle through our lives in the monsoon.
Life can be fun if we change gears. By gears, I mean rain gears, rain jackets, boots, and umbrellas. It's time to bring out your gear for this rainy season.  Ladies are never comfortable with the ugly black boots. Why wear those ugly black boots, when you can wear these colourful boots in the rain.

The boring black umbrella needs an immediate replacement. Splash of colours make a remarkable day when you are out in the rain. Some eye catching umbrellas can make your many heads turn.


A rain jacket is a must for all women.  Only an umbrella can't save the day?


All women should have a bright colored rain jacket, so they can look good even in the rain. This way you are protected from the splash and spew of muddy water, and make a style statement too.

Children too need protection from the rain. A great pair of boots and raincoat would bring a smile on your child's face. Here, are some great rainwear.


Why men should be left behind in rain fashion? They should try some colourful jackets and make fashion statements.


Try a bright red jacket when you're going out with friends. Then a more sober but, classic rain jacket in brown or beige colour.

When going for work.

Here are some quirky rain protection clothes. Maybe you could try some of these.

If you don't find most of these clothes in your nearby store don't worry. You can order most of them online through trusted websites, or perhaps invent them.

Editors @ lifestyle.ozg.in
The Lifestyle Blog 

The full figure beautiful women


"Beauty is in the eye of the beholder." According to the fashion industry, beauty means a woman is slim. With this in mind, how can women who are not slim, but plus size, feel good about themselves? The key is confidence. You can achieve confidence by loving and accepting how you look. If you are confidant, you look and feel better.

If you were born to be a full figure woman, you can't change that. However, if you try to shrink or hide yourself because of your plus size shape, you can change that. It is natural to be insecure and lack confidence when the fashion industry tells the world a plus size body doesn't meet the standard of "slim is beauty," but you can choose to fight back.


The way to fight back is to love and accept your full figure body. When a full figure woman starts to love and accept herself, she walks straighter and holds her chin up. She looks beautiful because she exudes confidence. Plus size women can't change the fashion industry, but they can change how they feel about themselves. Maybe over time, if plus size women choose to fight back, a revolution will happen in the fashion industry to change the slimmer is better standard.

However, plus size women do not need to wait for such a revolution. They just need to start with a revolution of their own personal attitude. Plus size women need to accept how they look and love who they are, and they will gain confidence. If you have confidence, then you can demand clothes that fit your body. It is already beginning to happen because some plus size women are asking for stylish clothes in their sizes. These women are beholding full figure women as beautiful.

Why fare is the business of fairness creams?

Like most people, I possess a set of unique and twisted insecurities. In fact, I suspect that I am far more insecure than your average Anita. And yet, there is one aspect about my physical appearance that people of my country are surprised to find I genuinely don't give a shade about -- my skin colour, a fairly common, darker shade of the Indian brown.

I have managed to secure jobs that I aspired for without being discriminated against. And I have enjoyed attention from all kinds of men, including successful and good-looking ones. Yet, everyday I am told differently. That because I am dark, I will not get my dream job or the man I want. That, I will be unsuccessful, miserable and unhappy, all because of my skin colour.


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Welcome to the unfortunate business of fairness creams in India.


Colours of history –

Maybe, our colonial past has us feeling deeply inferior about our brown skin. Or it's our caste system and the widely prevalent belief that fair people belong to higher castes. Interestingly, the Sanskrit word for caste, 'Varna', literally translates to colour.

Although, in recent years, experts have said that the colours or Varnas on which the castes were divided – white, red, yellow and black – does not imply skin colour. "It's not so much the caste system but regional differences that give Indians different skin shades. In northern India, because of their history, people tend to be light-skinned," says Sociologist Anupama Gandotra. Historically, northern India has been more vulnerable to invasion and foreign settlers and north Indians are commonly perceived as fairer than south Indians. However, dark and fair-skinned people can be seen across the country.

Maybe I don't care so much about colour because I grew up in the nineties in urban India, when the country was on the cusp of change and the caste system -- at least in the cities -- was losing its stronghold. Commercialism hadn't spread its tentacles yet and at age 13, I was not bombarded with advertisements telling me that I should slather my face with chemicals for a better life.

The business of fairness -

The opening up of India's, socialist-inspired economy in the last decade has led to a barrage of multinational cosmetic companies dying to dig into their share of the fairness cream profits.

From a few major players in the nineties the market today explodes with choices. As per AdEx India, an ad monitoring agency, the frequency of fairness cream advertising rose to 56% in the first half of 2003, as compared to 2004. And AC Nielsen, the global market research agency with a strong presence in the country, has predicted that the fairness cream industry will be worth over 400 million by the end of this year.

Noted business columnist and author Sucheta Dalal says, "Every MNC in India is hawking versions of fairness creams today or project moisturisers with 'white' or 'whiteness' as a pre-fix. Often, they may have just a much needed sun block, but they are projected as whitening agents, under the sales pitch of white is beautiful.

"The advertising for these products perpetuates the myth that a person instantly becomes more qualified for a job or does better, because she is fairer. In most countries, this would have attracted protest or litigation."

Can you imagine L'Oreal implying through their adverts, in countries like the UK or the US, that white skin was superior? L'Oreal and other MNCs like Neutrogena, Nivea and Unilever are constantly reinforcing this message in India.

Sucheta was invited to judge and pick potential candidates for scholarships offered by a fairness cream brand, which she turned down. "It was presented as a noble gesture for the underprivileged, so the others who took my place didn't mind."
The market-share wars are reflected in the advertising, with every brand promising extraordinary results. Celica Nair, an advertising copywriter who has worked on a fairness cream brand, says, "The fairness cream market is getting increasingly cluttered, we have to give a brand the differentiator it needs to attract users. Whether it's with the promise of a better life or the words we use. That's why there is so much hard-sell – tall claims of whiteness, pearl complex, gold radiance and gimmicks like shade meters." (Shade meters are strips with different skin-shades so the user gets to 'measure' the progress!)

"What next, I wonder! A silver face?" chuckles Celica in a lighter moment. But millions of people fall for these claims. As writer and editor Rashmi Deshpande who shot a documentary on fairness cream users says, "A teenager said he used the cream to get better grades at school, because he was conditioned to believe that fair people were smarter." When Rashmi gently suggested that studying harder might help, he seemed unconvinced.

Colourism fuelled by commercialism –

Unfortunately, despite its economic progress in recent years, India is plagued with numerous gender and development issues. It has been the norm to talk about skin colour preferences openly for centuries, with every young male – strapping or not -- desirous of a fair bride. That's why there has been very little protest by the public and the media.

Just a little over half a century ago, when the British ruled the country, the 'Gora' (which translates to the colour 'white' and is also slang for white-foreigner) was intensely disliked. But today, in India's burgeoning fashion and beauty industry, white, Caucasian models are ruling the roost. In fact, recently, a Brazilian model played the second lead in a hit Hindi film, clad in traditional Indian outfits, at about 5'10 and with very light skin, she was seen as the ideal (if not real!) Indian beauty.

Flip through every magazine and it is obvious that white models are de rigueur. Rashmi Deshpande, who is also the Assistant Editor of Femina -- India's largest selling and oldest women's magazine -- defends the trend. "Our decision to use pictures with white models is not always driven by prejudice or preference. We work under tight deadlines, don't always have the time for shoots and use stock images. It's practically impossible to find a good range of pictures with Asian or Hispanic models from popular stock-image sites," she says. 
Rashmi says that Femina never promotes the use of fairness creams or the idea of fairness in their beauty articles or stories. However, most women's glossies including the recently launched Indian editions of international magazines like Vogue and Marie Claire feature advertisements of fairness creams.

The prejudice against dark males in India has been subtler, but when recent market research uncovered that over 20% of fairness creams meant for women were being used by men, companies flooded the market with fairness creams for men. One of the first commercials targeting men, almost shamed them into buying a cream specifically tailored for them.

While India still remains largely socially conservative, life has changed for millions in the country. The growth has by no means been inclusive but economic progress has been driving independence in lifestyle and thinking for many. Women constitute a large part of the country's white-collar workforce, an increasing number of youngsters are choosing their own partners, liberal thinking has created a hybrid, modern Indian culture and Caste does not rule in most of the country's sprawling cities. Given time, the obsession with fairness might have faded, were it not for the greed of the cosmetic companies that profit from fuelling 'colourism' in modern India.


The Charm of Churidar in Desi Fashion

The Churidar Suit, also known as the Churidar Kameez or the Churidar Kurta, is a popular outfit in India that is mostly worn in the Northern India. It is basically a variation of the popular Salwar Suit or Salwar Kameez. Churidars are worn by men too, with long kurtas for that ethnic and casual look. It is coupled with Sherwanis also for festive occasions and for wedding ensembles.



While salwars are loose-fitting trousers worn underneath a kameez, churidars are a much tighter version with accumulated gathers or folds below the knee. In fact, churidar gets its name from these accumulated gathers or folds as they resemble Churis or Bangles.



Since these gathers are most important when it comes to churidars, it is advisable to make churidars in stiff fabrics which has the quality to stand on its own. Cotton is the best option when it comes to churidar.



Silk could also be considered. If gathers are desired, then its best to stay away from flowy fabrics such as georgette or chiffon. Churidar style trousers in these fabrics are also made but they do not possess many or any folds. For a Bollywood enthusiast, churidars are almost synonymous with the golden era of the 60s.



It is impossible not to think about style icons such Asha Parekh, Saira Banu, Mumtaz, Sadhna in their ultra-tight fitting churidar suits when talking about this particular outfit. Their outfits were so popular that women in those days copied their each and every style and still continue to do so. Kameez or tops with churidars come in varying lengths. Short kurtas are very much in style these days but long kurtas look even better with churidars.



Our style icons of the 60s coupled skin-tight knee-length kameez or kurta with their equally tight churidars. Knee-length kameez or a longer version , a couple of inches below the knee, looks really flattering with churidars.



It is said that usually churidars look great on short, petite women such as our very own beauties of the 60s, but it looks equally fabulous on tall but well proportioned women, think of modern ladies even though it does tend to make them look a bit taller.



Keywords: Churidar, Salwar, Salwar Kameez, Salwar Kameej, Desi Fashion, Churidaar Suit, Salwar Kurta, Punjabi, Hindi, Kashmiri, Designer Collection, Indian attire, Indian Ethnic Wear,

The Significance of Bangles or Chudi in India

Bangles are a type of ornament worn by women in India. Also called Kangan or Chudi in Hindi, Valayal in Tamil, Gaaju in Telugu, Bale in Kannada. Bangles are part of traditional Indian jewelry. In India, bangles are very popular and with growing fashion trends, have become a highly popular in their various designs and forms. They are usually worn in pairs by women, one or more on each arm. Most Indian women prefer wearing either gold or glass bangles or combination of both. Inexpensive Bangles made from plastic are slowly replacing those made by glass, but the ones made of glass are still preferred at traditional occasions such as marriages and on festivals. Bangles hold great value in Hinduism and tradition. It is considered inauspicious for a woman to have bare arms. Traditionally, married Hindu women always weary bangles around their wrists. Today, the modern day women may not wear bangles with their daily attire, but only on occasions and festivals. This is because to them, bangles have a very sentimental value. In fact, to the Hindu woman, bangle is not only an ornament, but also an important part of womanhood and honor.

A single bangle worn by a man is called a Kada or Kara (steel or iron bangle). Kada is a circular shaped bangle having religious significance for Sikhs, and is made from iron, white metal or gold.

 


Marriage - While girls in traditional Indian society are allowed to wear bangles, married women are generally expected to wear bangles. The jewelry is primarily associated with matrimony, signifying marriage in the same way that the Western wedding ring does. After the wedding, the woman continues to wear her bangles as a charm of safety and luck for her husband, and after a Hindu woman's husband dies, she breaks her glass wedding bangles in an act of mourning.

Bangles and Honeymoon – During an Indian wedding, the bride tries to wear the smallest glass bangles. She is helped by her best friend or sister to do this using scented oil. It's believed that smaller bangles symbolize a happy and loving marriage and a wonderful honeymoon.

Bangles and Husband and Luck – A married Indian woman is required to wear bangles (green or red depending on which region they belong to) on a day to day basis because bangles are symbolic of safety, marriage and luck for their husbands. Sudden breaking of glass bangles is considered a sign of danger or an unpleasant incident involving the husband.

Color and Meaning

Glass bangles hold different meanings according to their color. Some regions have specific bangles associated with their local traditions, and there is a more general color code for bangles as well. Red bangles symbolize energy, blue bangles symbolize wisdom and purple symbolizes independence. Green stands for luck or marriage and yellow is for happiness. Orange bangles mean success, white ones mean new beginnings and black ones mean power. Silver bangles mean strength, while gold bangles mean fortune.
In Gujarat and Rajasthan, the bride's mother has to gift the bride a pair of ivory bangles. It is only on wearing these ivory bangles that the bridal couple can perform the 'saptapati'; without the bangles, this ritual cannot be performed. (The saptapati is the seven steps that are taken around the fire, without which no Hindu marriage is considered complete).

Married women in Bengal have to wear the iron 'kada' (bangle) or 'loha' as it is commonly called, to signify marriage. In addition to this kada, the bride is presented with white conch bangles that are beautifully crafted and red lac bangles.

The South Indian ceremony called Valaikaapu occurs during the seventh month of a woman's pregnancy. The family celebrates, and bangles of all colors and designs are stacked on the woman's wrists. Once the ceremony is completed, the woman goes to her mother's residence. There, she will deliver her child.

It is believed to be an event held to ward off evil spirits that might be lurking around the mother-to-be or the baby in the womb.


Implication of the Toe Rings in India

Wearing of toe rings is highly practiced in India. It is worn as a symbol of married state by Hindu women and is called bichiya (pronounced: bee-chee-ya) in Hindi, Mettelu in Telugu, Metti in Tamil & kalungura in Kannada. Toe rings, also known as bichwa, are a must for married Hindu woman. Tradition of wearing toe rings carries tremendous social significance for married Hindu women in India.

They are usually made of silver and worn in pairs on the second toe of both feet. Traditionally they are quite ornate, though more contemporary designs are now being developed to cater to the modern bride. Some 'bichiya sets' may have pairs for four of the five toes, excluding the little pinky. 'Bichiyas' may not be made of gold, as gold holds a 'respected' status and may not be worn below the waist. Hindus believe that gold is the metal of the Gods; it symbolizes Lakshmi, the Goddess of Wealth, and therefore considers it inappropriate to wear gold below the waist.


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Traditionally a large ring was worn on the great toe of the left foot to indicate a married status. As Toe Rings or Bicchwas were considered to be symbolic of married woman, Hindu religion prohibits unmarried girls from wearing Bichhwas. Even in present times, girls refrain from wearing toe-rings before marriage.Toe rings also symbolize a womans dual status as sister and wife. She wears two sets of toe rings on each foot one for her brother and one for her husband. When either the husband or brother dies, one set is removed. The symbolism is that if her husband were to die then her brother would offer her protection.

In great Indian epic called 'Ramayana' toe ring plays a vital role. When Sita was abducted by Ravana, on the way, she throwed her toe ring (kaniazhi) as the identification for lord Rama. This shows that toe ring is used from ancient time. In Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, bichwa or toe rings is one of the most important symbols of marriage and women are encouraged to decorate each toe with different rings with myriad motifs ranging from paisley, to fish to flowers.

During the Vedic times, Sanskrit texts laid down the concept of sixteen Shringaar or the sixteen traditional accoutrements with which every woman could adorn herself.
In South India too, toe rings are a symbol of marriage and women wear a heavy ring on the second toe of each foot.

Toe rings are usually adjustable. These rings are seldom closed circles but open hoops so that they could easily be removed. Toe rings usually have a small gap on the bottom of the ring to allow them to slip over the tips of the toe more easily.

Scientific & Ayuvedic

Some men frequently wore a ring on the big toe for curative purposes or to augment their masculine vigor. Wearing toe ring to the second toe has sexual/erotic effect. The reflexology texts also mention about treating gynaecological problems by massaging the second toe. There is also a belief that the wearing of toe rings press on certain nerves that pertain to the reproductive system, keeping it in balance and healthy. Ancient Ayuvedic medicine has long been used along side acupressure. The Indians believe that your "prana" or life force must be in balance in order for you to stay healthy. All of the paths of your "prana" run down to your toes, so the idea that a marital symbol could double up as a reproductive enhancer is not a big stretch.

This is a ring with two or three line rounds, worn in their second finger from toe. By wearing this in both feet, it is believed, that their menstrual cycle course is regularized with even intervals. This gives good scope for conceiving to married women. Also it is said just because that particular nerve in the second finger from toe, also connects the uteruses and passes thru heart. Because of this, the constant friction caused while walking and doing all sorts of chores during a day, it revitalizes the productivity organs. Silver being a good conductor, it also absorbs the energy from the polar energies from the earth and passes it to the body, thus refreshing whole body system.



Indian Bridal Wear

The Indian wedding is a vibrant and elaborate affair with the blushing bride being the cynosure of the ceremony.  The Indian bride has a variety of Indian bridal wear options to shimmer, sparkle and glow as she drapes herself in the choicest of embroidered fabrics along with elegant pieces of jewellery. Conventionally, the Indian Bridal Wear is synonymous with the Sari, Ghagra Choli and Lehenga.


 
Now days, Indian Bridal Wear has a lot of embroidery and embellishments done on them. They come in various varieties and styles. Zari, sequence, embroidery, zardosi, organza, cut work, mirror work, patchwork, pearl work, kasab, kundan, are all diverse kinds of work, which are available in sari. Although the styles and embroidery of Indian Bridal saris have changed, they have become much trendier and light. Earlier much more heavy work was used, while now the style is rich as well as sleek and light in fabric.
 
 
 
 
 
India being a country with diverse cultures and region boasts of a unique wedding style replete with their regional specialities and diverse rituals.
 

Regional Bridal Sarees:

 

Banarasi sarees are the most popular Indian bridal dress. They have fine, hand woven exquisite zari work.

 

 

 

 

 

Rich Mysore silk sarees or pure Kanjivaram sarees can be selected in a variety of color combinations and prints. Kanjivaram silk is the typical South-Indian Bridal dress.

 

 

 

 

 

Kashmiri embroidered bridal wear sarees have a very elegant look and get up. Its exquisitely woven embroidery, very popular with the Marwaari community, gives a graceful look.

 

 

 

 

 

The bridal sari is always beautified with awesome embroidery and embellishment work like zari, organza, zardosy, sequins, cut work, mirror work, pearl work, kasab, kundan work etc.

 

 

 

 

 

Bridal sarees from Rajasthan encompass elaborate embroidered sarees in vibrant shades. Designs can be ethnic or modern.

 

 

 

 

 

A dazzling variety of tie & dye bridal sarees with the use of rich embroidery and embellishment work are also available. The bandhej sarees give the enchanting color of happiness, and the exquisite mirror, sequins, kundan, zari, gota work etc. add to the charisma.

 
 
 
 
Learn more about Indian Marriage at http://marriage.ozg.in