First Purchase Of 2020

A short essay about my first purchase of the year; an elegant yet simple white Kurta from FabIndia


As you might have read about in one of my earlier essays, I spent the entire of 2018 on a no-spend pledge (not buying any clothes). Besides the obvious benefit of helping me reduce the environmental impact of my fashion-related purchases, the pause also enabled me to build a deeper understanding of my wardrobe and personal style. An understanding of what I truly enjoyed wearing and what I did not. An understanding rooted in my own experiences/preferences rather than the prevalent trends in the fashion industry. The pause also helped me get in touch with the stories behind my clothes, both in terms of how they were made as well as the ones I created while wearing them.

When I ended the pledge in 2019, I decided that I would limit myself to only 12 new items of fashion each year. The intent was to prioritize working with what I already owned as well as borrowing/thrifting/swapping. Buying new was reserved for rare occasions and required that I first take a deeper look at my wardrobe and what I needed. I would have to ensure that when I did buy new, I purchased well-researched and high-quality pieces from sustainable + ethical brands. Surprisingly, I ended up purchasing only 4 items of fashion in 2019.

This year, one of my motivations has been to prioritize wearing (and buying) items that reflect the rich & diverse history of clothing in my country. I feel part of the damage that fast fashion has managed to do, is the erosion and appropriation of the diverse cultural roots of clothing around the world. I feel a strong sense of responsibility in doing my bit to help revive, celebrate, and represent this history through my purchases. This has been a powerful shift. Wearing garb local to the land I call home has been a source of both joy and strength. It has felt like discovering a part of my identity, one I never even knew I had lost.

Of all the various kinds of clothing rooted in the history of my country, the “Kurta” is easily my favorite. Its longer length isn’t only an aesthetically refreshing break from the shorter silhouettes of a tee or a shirt but also offers functional benefits. The longer length means a more relaxed fit around the torso, enabling both movement and breathability. Most Kurtas also have pockets. I own a few pieces in different colors, but none in white. So, at the start of the year, I decided that a white Kurta would be one of the 12 pieces I’d add to my wardrobe this year.

When I looked online for options, nothing stood out to me. Interestingly, on my last day in Pune, I was accompanying a few friends while they shopped. While walking and looking around at the FabIndia store, I stumbled upon a Kurta that I liked. Although a brand I deeply appreciate thanks to their work with artisans across rural India, I hadn’t been very lucky to find clothes that fit me with them in the past. I wasn’t very hopeful when I decided to try it out. Surprisingly, unlike many times in the past, this Kurta fit me rather well. So, I decided to get it.

All in all, I’m glad I decided to get it. I have already worn it more than a few times (even though it is less daily wear and more formal). I am pairing it here with my 8-year-old chambray trousers from American Apparel (loved clothes last).


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