Ranveer Singh wore it. So did Ayushmann Khurrana. Zayn Malik was applauded for it. Chris Brown drew flak for it. Is the nose ring on men a statement of confidence, or a silly, passing fad?
In April, 2015, Zayn Malik (ex-One Direction band member) had social media excited when he posted a picture of him wearing a nose stud on Instagram. On the other hand, American singer Chris Brown received flak for flaunting what looked like a safety pin on his nose, ahead of the American Music Awards in 2014. Of course, before them all was late American rapper Tupac Shakur, who wore a nose stud till his untimely death in 1996.
But it isn’t just male celebrities making this piece of jewellery cool. Tumblr has a page (Cute Boys with Nose Rings) dedicated to men with nose piercings. And a look at the notes and reblogs is testimony to the popularity of the trend.
When Ranveer Singh wore it
Closer home, Bollywood actor Ranveer Singh, known for his quirky fashion, sported a silver septum ring with a chain to his earlobe on the Februrary cover of fashion magazine, L’Officiel India. Akanksha Jain, fashion editor, L’Officiel India, says, “The idea was to show Ranveer Singh’s alter ego, his metrosexual personality. Women wear jeans, chinos and suspenders. We wanted to create a gender-bender look for a man, with nose jewellery and a pussy bow blouse.”
Soon after, in February, another actor, Ayushmann Khurrana, made a fashion statement — this time, bravely, at a public event (HT Kala Ghoda Arts Festival, 2016). He took stage for his music performance sporting a silver nose ring.
Not just celebs
The Mumbai Pride march 2016 in January also saw men wearing nose jewellery — from simple to elaborate ones. One of them was Sumit Pawar, 25, who works at a city NGO. He says, “The idea was to break gender stereotypes. Hence the nose ring, necklace and flared skirt with men’s shoes.”
Dhruv Ambegaonkar, 24, an MBBS graduate, wore a more modest clip-on nose ring: “I stole my mother’s clip-on ring simply because it looked pretty, and it made a cool statement about equality within and outside the community.” He says he wears the clip-on ring even when he’s out with friends, but hasn’t got a piercing done. “I’ll soon begin my residency, and I’ve been warned that my peers and seniors may not take a guy with a nose piercing seriously. I want to get it done post med-school.”
But it isn’t just about gender stereotypes. In the west, nose rings on men were common in the punk subculture of the mid-’70s, which made leather jackets, heavy make-up, coloured hair and piercings popular.
Our own culture, too, isn’t new to piercings on men. It is fairly common for men from certain communities in western and north-eastern India to wear jewellery, and have ear and nose piercings. In fact, relics from Harappa and Mohenjodaro also show men wearing jewellery.
Event manager Zico Fernandes, 26, who’s been wearing a nose ring (and recently a septum ring) for seven years now, rapper Tupac Shakur was the inspiration. And he’s done it in spite of a few upset clients: “In the past, I’ve attracted snide comments. Of late, it’s gained acceptance as a style statement,” says Fernandes. AJ Alva of Al’s Tattoo Studio, Bandra, adds that although he’s seen nose piercings on men for a few years now, now more men want to get them done.
Trend or fad?
Designer Kunal Rawal feels men’s jewellery is untapped segment, but piercings may be a fad. “The inspiration for nose piercings comes from the Samaon culture. They are niche, and might be a fad. But it’s indicative of a larger trend of men sporting jewellery.” Designer Narendra Kumar, however, seems surprised. He does agree that men are loosening up when it comes to fashion choices, but says, “Earrings are fine, but nose jewellery seems to be pushing it. For it to become a trend, it needs to be accepted by everyone, and I don’t see that happening.”
HOW TO WEAR IT: If you’re going to do it, do it right
Pair a basic silver septum ring with a white T-shirt, leather jacket and jeans for a casual-grungy look.
Pair nose jewellery with ethnic wear for a regal look. Think sherwani, achkan or a long bandhgala with a ruby studded nose ring.
For a formal occasion, the trick is to keep it minimal. A small metal stud or a simple diamond stud.
— By stylist Nitasha Gaurav