The Influence of Bollywood and Dance Forms on Fashion Adrianah Trevino-Gartner, SCU ’18

Bollywood is known to be one of the largest film industries in Indian culture that is filled with celebrities, fashion, and cinemas. This term combined the essence of Hollywood and gave origin to the homeland of productions based in a city named Bombay, now formally known as Mumbai. The creation of theatrical productions and movies act as a powerful vehicle for the portrayal of Indian culture to communicate the society, trends, education, and politics. Bollywood productions have an impact on not only in India’s culture and dress, but also provides a global influence in the fashion industry as a whole.

For the famous actors and actresses that star in new movies wearing extravagant clothing, the demand for similar garments are wanted by India’s ready to wear industry, and even those that request to have the outfits tailored want a replica. Productions of favorite garments, such as sarees, salwar kameez, achkans, and lehengas are designs that aspire from Bollywood films. The sari is the most popular ethnic garment known in India and to outside cultures. This garment is worn by women and is a stylized blouse by draping it over the body in various ways.

Dancing and singing is a common theme throughout Bollywood films. Dance has been a celebrated, and ancient cultural tradition among Indian culture. While the dance forms express emotion, it tells a story for the audience through the movement and energy the actor brings, while the clothing serves as a visual appeal to emphasize the event or occasion taking place during the dance. It is common to see elaborate traditional clothing to historical costumes like at weddings and festivals. There are many forms of classic dance to Indian tradition, which includes Bharatanatyam, Manipuri, Kuchipudi, and Odissi.

Bollywood and various dance forms greatly influences the native people that live in India. From the inspiration of elaborate garment pieces in movies to create productions in the retail setting, to even traveling across the globe to the American culture; there has been a movement of Indian-inspired designs, patterns, and embellishments that span the globe to create a wider variety of fashion sense in the industry.

Researching the impact of dance and Bollywood has broadened my knowledge of the various influence that creates such a unique culture. The information I had learned brought interesting facts of the Indian culture. From evaluating the design perspective of the clothing, I find that color and detailing is an important part in creating the visual appeal of Indian clothing. I don’t find it surprising that the influence of celebrities can have an impact on the society’s demand for the trending clothes, but I admire the consistency in keeping the traditional clothing alive. The design aesthetics that are created and exhibited by the indigenous people gives the importance of their traditional dress that others can see and appreciate. With this knowledge in mind, I can take a moment to recognize and value on one of the many origins of creative apparel.

Bollywood dancers doing dance routine on set
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Rosenberg, M. (n.d.). Bollywood: India’s Movie Industry Known as Bollywood. Retrieved from
One of the traditional forms of dance: Odissi 
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Indian Dance Forms. (n.d.). Retrieved from


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