a typology of hairstyles at a Calcutta fashion school

creative field(s)

Portrait Photography


35mm Camera . Lights . Props  
Lightroom . Photoshop

form and dimension

Digital Photographs






To observe the latest in sartorial trends, a fashion school is probably second only to a catwalk. And of all the manifestations of fashion, hair is perhaps the most fleeting yet ubiquitous one. Grown or shaved; coloured, combed, decorated or unkempt—hair is as much a marker of identity as it is a performance. In 2014, when I started teaching at the National Institute of Fashion Technology, I was intrigued by the myriad of individual performances—often deliberate, sometimes subconscious—that played out in my class. The students were from diverse backgrounds, and their hair reflected the diversity. It was fascinating to observe how, based on geography, gender, sexuality, class or caste, the characteristics of one's hair changes and can signify freedom, defiance, conformity or obedience.

Inspired by Victorian-era post-mortem photographs, this project explores the symbolic rituals and representations associated with hair within the microcosm of a fashion school in Calcutta.

︎ click on the contact sheet for a full-screen view of the images

︎Photographs developed between 2014-2017 while working as a guest faculty at the National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT), Kolkata.

Biddle-Perry, Geraldine, and Sarah Cheang. Hair: Styling, Culture and Fashion. London: Bloomsbury, 2013.
Klanten, Robert. Hair'em Scare'em. Edited by S. Ehmann and M. Hubner, Die Gestalten Verlag, 2009.
Philippon, Laurent. Hair: Fashion and Fantasy. Thames & Hudson, 2013.

copyright © 2023 chhandak pradhan =︎︎ unless otherwise stated.
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