Designer Suket Dhir’s eponymous menswear label (launched in 2010) focuses on minimalism and eco-friendly textiles. At present, he’s the toast of the fashion fraternity — in a first of sorts, the designer won the menswear regional round for the International Woolmark Prize (IWP), held recently in Dubai.
The next leg will see Dhir compete in the finale that will be held in Florence, Italy, in January 2016. If Dhir wins, he will be following in designer Rahul Mishra’s footsteps — IWP’s international winner for womenswear in 2014. Not only will this put him on the global map, it will also give him a chance to stock at international retail giants like Harvey Nichols, Saks Fifth Avenue and 10 Corso Como. Excerpts from an interview:
Tell us about your IWP’s finale collection.
I’m working on some new developments with Raymond. Though it’s too soon to get into the details, the focus of my collection will be on handloom.
Your men’s western wear label has an inherent Indian aesthetic. Where do you seek inspiration?
My brand has an Indian soul. I have a sense of belonging to the country, and that seeps into my work. There is a certain element of beauty that Indian menswear has, one that can’t be straitjacketed into terms like ‘severe’ or ‘sharp’. I’m deeply inspired by how yesteryear’s men from our culture dressed — loose pyjamas and palazzos with a simple shirt, teamed with a bespoke jacket during the winters. I strive to bring such nazakat (elegance) to the fore.
Dhir’s designs are bohemian and make use of eco-friendly textile
You have always championed subtle yet quirky prints. How can a man who is not particularly experimental with his dressing, sport these?
Every man should add an element of fun to his clothing to let his personality and his lighter side shine through. Prints are a great way to do this. You don’t need to opt for in-your-face or garish ones. Something as basic as microdot prints will do the trick.
You lay great emphasis on trans-seasonal pieces: which garments can help men transition from one season to the next?
A pair of worn-out indigo jeans (you can wear the same pair for 10-15 years), formal khaki pants, cool wool trousers (lightweight fabric for warmer climates), crisp white, navy blue and printed shirts, linen pyjamas, grey melange T-shirt, tweed two-button blazer, sleek leather sandals and colourful socks are all you need.
Which colours are you placing your bets on this season?
My approach to colours is trans-seasonal too. Blue and its myriad shades are always winners. Men should also give their nod to aqua, shades of yellow, dull pistachio and greens. Nature-inspired hues also make for a great look.
Dhir says his brand has an Indian soul.
What are the best fabrics for Mumbai's humid weather?
I believe in championing natural fabrics — not only are they breathable, but they also age beautifully. Linen should figure prominently on your list and cottons, of course, are evergreen.
What are some of the common faux pas Indian men make?
They need to stop wearing skinny pants. Men also need to pay attention to sizing and fit. If off-the-rack clothing doesn’t fit right (especially shirts, as Indian men are infamous for their bellies), don’t shy away from getting your clothes tailored.
Dhir believes in championing natural fabrics
(Photos courtesy: suketdhir.com)
Visit: suketdhir.com for more information on Suket Dhir