Hotels in India » Fashion in India » Mens Wear

Mens Wear


Indian men are now looking for ne wtrends and designs in clothes. The Indian clothes and western styles, the formal shirts and casual kurtas are all moving into to world of high fashion.

Fashion is no longer the sole bastion of the fairer sex in India. From times immemorial men have been making a fashion statement that has made an impact on the sartorial scenario of the country. As a nation Indians are noted to wear garments that are unstitched, for example the lungi, dhoti, sari etc. But with the advent of modernization certain change in the dressing habits of men have undergone innovation. Within a span of just twenty years the readymade garment industry has grown thousand fold and the famed Mangala Market in Calcutta which operates every Tuesday has an estimated turnover of Rs. 7-8 crores per day. Readymade garments from a major industry of which nearly 30 per cent is exported and the balance 70 per cent is for the indigenous market. The export figures are estimaed to touch Rs. 4000 crores in 1991 but unfortunately the figures for the local market are not available due to the disorganized nature of the business. But a rough estimate points to Rs. 12,000 crores with a fifty-fifty breakup in men’s and women’s wear.

New brand names enter the fray every season along with men’s wear boutiques springing up in eveyr nook and corner. Nemes like Ensemble, Glitterati, Intermezzo Linea, Anja San, Mutiny are geared to the affluent up-market buyer whose perference is for the exclusive high-priced garment. Narindra Kumar, a graduate of the National Institute of Fashion Technology and now designer with Ensemble, the classy fashion house in Bombay which opened its fashionable doors in 1987 setting a trend for haute couture men’s and women’s wear in India comments, “There is a remarkable growth in men’s wear and this can be attributed to foreign influence, the Indian film scene and the spurt in trained designers and fashion houses. Even the man on the street is aware of fashion today and although women’s wear sells more, men are more aware of fashion.” No doubt the Indian male is still considered conservative by western standards and requires a gentle nudge to be a bit adventurous. Men’s wear in India can be divided into two distinct groups- Indian and Western. The former has made rapid progress in the business on the formal side while the latter is further sub-divided into formal suits and casual wear.

Indian Wear: With the revival of a renewed interest in the grandeur of the bygone eras and a search for one’s roots the attention is focused on high fashion Indian wear. Resplendent with the splendour and style of the ancient Maharajas and Mughal emperors, India’s rich sartorial heritage has not only moved to centre stage but has at times even swept the west off its fashionable feet by its sheer majesty. The Sherwani, the Prince or Jodhpuri Coat, the Budni or Nehru Jacket as well as the Kurta Churidar have all returned to the forefront of fashion. At the height of the British Raj formal wear was totally western in concept It was the done thing for Indian princes to wear the most elaborate of suits. With the coming of Independence it was the return to classic Indian wear in handspun fabrics. Today western wear competes fiercely with Indian wear as the country’s ancient culture and fashion has gained momentum. The Sherwani is the most traditional of Indian garments. It extra long length of 110 centimetres and its structured body makes it a streamlined garment. The collar band is 3-4 centimetres. The colours are muted to dark and fabrics could range from broacade to terrywool. The Sherwani is normally teamed with Churidars or Aligarh pants which are a combination of Churidars and trousers. Another version of the Sherwani is double breasted or with an asymmeterical opening. Two inseam pockets and gaint side slits of 25-35 centimetres are a must in the garment.

For casual lounging the Indian male’s first perference is the Kurta/Churidar combination in light weight cotton, mills, pure silk or polyesters. The Kurta or shirt is either collarless or with a plain band. The body of the garment could either have the 2-piece of 6-piece cut. Modern versions could be with a draped effect too. The Churidar or Indian pant is cut on the cross and has ane xtra length so that when worn it will crease at the ankles. The Kurta and Churidar both are in muted colours with delicate tonal embroidery around the neck and placket of the Kurta.

The Bundi or Bundgala is the traditional long the Indian version or a western waistcoat that adds instant style to an otherwise informal Kurta Churidar. Fabrics perferred are raw silks, cotton, linen, silk, terrycotton, terry wool or brocade and for the sultry Indian weather the Bundi is the answer to formal wear.

The Prince or Jodhpuri coat is the Indian alternative to the lounge suit or texed. Its length is similar to suit jacket at 78 centimetres and its standup collar is its focal point. Worn with matching narrow trousers the impact can be quite stately. Its Fabric choice is akin to that of the western suit. Men’s shops like Intermezzo Linea catre to the sole requirements of the Indian male. “Today the Indian male’s colour perferences have changed since 1988 when Intermezzo Linea opened” observes Nancy Chopra its Marketing Manager. “Colour like purple, pink, mint green are in great demand and along with the Indian woman, her male counterpart would also like exclusive clothes.” The fastest selling western garments are the shirt, trouser and suit to a certain extent. The shirt market attracts the most manufacturers who vie for a large chunk of the estimated Rs. 200 crore business. There are nearly 5000 shirts manufacturers with branded or unbranded garments. The readymade shirt story started in the 50s with Liberty, the first branded shirt in the business and has never stopped growing. Soon the influx started in quick succession with Double Bull, followed closely by Charagh din, Cliff, Van Heusen, Globetrotter, stentcil, Louis Phillip, Rod Laver, Fus, Ambassador, Snowhite, Karl Lewis besides in-store brands like Benzer, Sheetal, Instyle, Roopam and designer lables like Suneet Verma, Ravi Bajaj, Arjun Khanna, Rohit Khosla, Anu Ma, Rohit Bal, Krishna Mehta ahilian, an unending list that is expanded every season. Shirt styling is sober whether for formal or causal wear with a partial stance to the baggy silhouette and natural and blended fabrics.

The trouser which was the obvisous follow on the readymade shirts has its own exclusive manufacturers like Zapata and Pantaloon. Every major shirt manufacturer prefer to team trousers with the garment to give a more coordinated look. The western suit and texedo are also a part of the men’s wear scene and though they are available off the peg with manufacturers like Park Avenue and boutiques, the Indian male prefers to more often than not custom tailor them. Most department stores have a separate men’s wear section that caters to the discriminating dresser.

The growth in the Indian men’s wear market has also lured International brands like Benetton, Wrangler, Pape to try their hand at capturing a part of the business. Hardcore mills like Bombay Dyeing launched Vivaldi shirts while Raymonds have been successful with their Park Avenue men’s range or readymade garments. The latest to enter is the VXL group of mills comprising Digjam, OCM and Jiyajee with their line of Hagger men’s wear.

Kumar of Ensemble adds, “Although women’s wear sells more one cannot ignore the potential of men’s wear.” This has prompted many designers like Rohit Khosla and Tarun Tahiliani, both basically women’s wear designers to enter the masculine designing section. Well-known traditional ladies wear labels like Amaaya and Pallavi Jaikishan noted for their heavily encrusted formal wear have not ignored the male preferences either. At the biannual National Garment Fair held by the Clothing Manufacturers Association of India every year there has been a tremendous increase in men’s wear manufacturers over the years. The earlier fairs had a mere handful of men’s wear participants but since the later part of the 80s there has been an equal breakup in men’s and women’s wear participants. At the 20th National Garment Fair held in Bombay in February, 91 there were 105 men’s wear manufacturers out of a total of 140 thus confirming the rise in the popularity of men’s wear.

The price structure for men’s wear is not the deciding factor for purchase. There is a brisk sale of garments off the pavements for as low as Rs. 50/- per shirt as well as more upmarket prices like Rs. 11,000/- for an overcoat at a classy fashion house.

“Today’s Indian man wants an exclusively styled garment as he is more demanding,” confirms Nancy Chopra. Men’s wear has definitely come of age of the Indian subcontinent with a more multifaceted image that seems to blend with the changing pattern that is both eastern and western a nature.