Kunal Rawal’s guide to Indian wear for the modern man

  • Kunal Rawal, Hindustan Times, Mumbai
  • Updated: Jun 09, 2016 17:17 IST
Shahid Kapoor’s classic cream embroidered sherwani (Photo: HT FILE)

Classics are termed so for a reason. I have always been a fan of classic cuts, looks and silhouettes. In the world of fashion, designers are constantly tweaking and interpreting. However, it is the level of tweaking that defines a look and brings about originality. For instance, one has to retain the fundamental elements and USP of the garment to preserve its classic value. In my opinion, changing or redefining small elements can make a garment more contemporary.

Reinvention of classics has been around since eternity. If classics weren’t around, designers wouldn’t have a canvas to start on. We would all be templates sticking to what’s right, almost like following a manual. It would result in loss of individuality. By now, I am certain you know which side I am on.

A model during the India Bridal Fashion Week (Photo: HT FILE)

When I was in school, we had these charts stuck to the walls with regional costumes of every state displayed prominently: couples donning Punjabi, Marathi and Gujarati outfits showed off their local fineries. I remember wanting to tweak all those looks to make them wearable for me. Now that I look back, I could wear something I wouldn’t have ever thought of wearing — with a few changes, of course. In my opinion, that’s what contemporary fashion does — it makes things more relatable.

I feel the generation today, with all its globalness, is the most patriotic generation. We love to wear our ethnic silhouettes and fabrics on a daily basis. However, it is the convenience of a shirt and trouser that makes us dress the way we do on a regular basis. But if traditional wear were given a modern take, we’d all love to dress in clothes that are closer to our roots.

Shahid Kapoor’s sherwani sports geometric patterns (Hindustan Times)

Some key points to remember

>> When picking the fabric, avoid weaves like brocades, as they are not apt for menswear. Fabrics should be more about textures, thread work and bead work, especially for men.

>> Pick colours that are bold, but with combinations that can be soothing to the eye. If you like metallic shades like gold and silver in your motifs and embroideries, stick to monochromatic colours or deeper shades. Also, let me know how to get parents to let us wear black on auspicious occasions. Times are changing. I hope this old norm changes too.

>> Comfort is key when choosing outfits. Bundis, achkans and sherwanis have gained popularity, as they are weather- and movement-friendly.

>> For Indian wear, footwear can complete the look. The key is to show some ankle if possible, for instance a pair of cut-out Oxfords work beautifully with Indian clothes.

>> In terms of motifs, softer lines and flowers are elegant, but there’s a thin line. Pick wild flowers in smaller sizes. Geometric designs are in vogue now. For instance, the geometric motif we used for Shahid Kapoor’s wedding sherwani. The outfit is so popular that fakes are now hitting stores.

>> Have fun with accessories like stoles and saafa. Avoid feathers and big experimental stones. According to me, even at extravagant weddings and at events with Maharaja themes, the opulence must come across in the décor, but definitely not on the groom’s head.

Kunal Rawal is a leading men’s fashion designer. He tweets as @kunalrawalvibe

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