Style? It’s right on the nose
Septum rings, bindi-inspired motifs, peacocks, even minimalist geometric patterns. Nose pins are getting a modern makeover, and men are getting interested too.
There’s a fashion revolution underway, and it’s centered on the nose pin. Gone are the traditional whorls and signets. In their place are dancing peacocks, Aztec motifs, rainbow colours and Hindi slang. The pieces are designed — and bought — to be worn with jeans or a kurti as easily as with formal ethnic wear.
“Social media and fashion influencers are helping us see the richness of our own ethnicity. Nose pins coming back are a part of that trend,” says jewellery designer Monalisa Manna.
Puja Bhargava Kamath of Lai Designs says there are now essentially three types of nose pins and rings — contemporary pieces meant for everyday wear, which some women change as regularly as they do earrings; larger, statement pieces, meant for special days or outfits or moods; and traditional classic Indian pins.
“I would say they all do well. And I think part of the reason is that urban women no longer feel bound to subscribe to any one stereotype of what should be worn, or what should be worn with what,” Kamath says. “So they’re wearing our small silver bird nose pin with shirtdresses or cropped linen pants.”
We evolve with time and so does fashion, says Saika Roy Choudhury, 34, a media sales executive. “I started wearing nose pins when I was 21. From simple diamond and gold studs, my collection has become more eclectic. I love experimenting. I’m happy to wear an elaborate Maharashtrian nath with an Indo-western outfit and make it my statement accessory for the day.”
A return to roots informs a lot of nose pin design today. Designer Bhavya Ramesh, for instance, travelled through Karnataka and Gujarat over seven months, drawing inspiration from the jewellery of Banjara tribals.
“People today want to connect with a product and want designs to represent them in some way,” she says. “So I took the bold structures from a lot of the tribal jewellery I came across and added, for instance, ghungroo that move, a technique I learnt from the tribals.”
Pragya Batra of Quirksmith, based in Bengaluru, is making collectible septum rings and says they’re catching on because they’re more gender-neutral.
“They also make for a stronger style statement. And growing demand for faux septum rings and nose pins suggests people new to noserings are experimenting with them,” she adds.
Her biggest sellers: Septum rings with typographic motifs that say ‘Aham’ (Sanksrit for ‘I am’) and ‘Maal’.
Though traditionally women wore gold nose pins, now silver pieces are faster-moving. “Perhaps that’s because women are collecting them, and the price of silver works better with that model,” says Vinayak Barwani, owner of Asian Arts in Kolkata, which has sold silver jewellery since 1956.