the first ever Van Heusen India Men’s Week (VHIMW) in the country that was held in New Delhi, couturiers are tracking international trends and making designs just for men. The Men’s Fashion Week provided a platform for designers to showcase their work and encourage further development of their labels in the Indian market.
It’s a milestone for the Indian fashion industry and a much- awaited opportunity for the designers to tap into a wider market and make people aware of designer menswear and make products accessible and available to them.
Designers feel that the concept of a fashion week for men is very new even to the world and India should be happy to have become the fourth country to hold an all-male fashion week after London, New York and Paris. India is a huge market with men’s wear sharing a major portion and Indian men are ready to experiment today.
The changing lifestyle of the Indian male is also a ready reckoner to reflect how much they have evolved in terms of style and grooming. That is the reason Indian men, who till now thought that a shirt is a shirt, are ready for the boutique- ish, designer wear kind of stuff. Earlier men didn’t have the time to invest in fashion. The ‘new man’ is willing to spend money on himself to look smarter and feel good.
The fact that the attitude of the male gender towards fashion has changed over the years was an encouraging factor for designers who came up with their men’s wear collection at The Men’s Week. The fashion fraternity feels that VHIMW will become a benchmark for fashion biz and will hopefully lead to more people joining in for the next year’s extravaganza.
According to designer Rocky S, “Right now, men’s wear has about 30-40 per cent of the market. But this market is rapidly growing thanks to the growing consciousness among men to constantly upgrade their wardrobes. Men’s fashion is going to get really big in the coming years and we have started off in the right direction.”
FDCI’s Sunil Sethi adds, “Men are also now more conscious about their looks – they go to the gym, they take
care of themselves, and the fact that the retail industry wanted us to go ahead with a dedicated men’s fashion week, shows that there’s a clear demand.” Men’s apparel is five times bigger than the women’s apparel segment. In India, women’s wear took off in a big way because women began climbing the corporate ladder and discovered western wear and corporate dressing.
“I see that the industry has moved a long way and there has been a lot of growth in the men’s fashion scenario,” said designer Ravi Bajaj who participated in his first ever fashion week with his collection Dandy March, shifted from the trademark classic look to something more indulgent. His range included Jamavar trousers, velvet shirts, surface ornamentation, cashmere bandhgalas, and paisley-print pants. Also, the textures were smooth and the silhouettes were sharp, well tailored and emphasis has been laid on the fit. Rajvi Mohan’s collection portrayed a man who’s on a holiday, does not give a damn and just wants to relax. “Being a woman designing for men is the best job in the world,” said Rajvi. On the other hand, Himmat Singh translated the royal world of Rajasthan with his Prince collection as models sashayed wearing ‘bandhgalas’ and ‘sherwanis’ with ethnic pagdis and swords for company.
Already famous in the fashion circuit, Nitin Bal Chauhan believes that men have become more fashion conscious. “These days, men want to dress up and be at par with their women when it comes to fashion. They are very specific. Not only the professionals you can see collegegoing youngsters too.
“They all want to wear the latest trends and experiment with their looks and style. I feel that having a
fashion week solely for men is the first right step to tap this booming market. My designs are mainly inspired by gothic architecture, rock and roll and nature. My collection is all about sleek pants with funky t-shirts that are extremely affordable. Besides clothes I have also designed a range of bags” said Nitin. Since his designs were inspired by the youth, we saw college-going teenagers walking down the ramp instead of male models.
Known for his individuality and original concepts, designer Zubair Kirmani felt that the Men’s Fashion Week should have happened a couple of years ago but now is not a bad time either. In fact, it has been only 10 years since fashion industry has become such a big business in India and men’s fashion has become more global since the past five years. So I feel we are behind by five years but overall it’s a great time for men’s fashion.
Former supermodel-turned-actor Muzammil Ibrahim said that as a budding model, he had wished that India had a dedicated fashion event for men. He was glad that new male models now have a platform in the VHIMW. “This platform will work wonders for male models. When I was just a model I really wanted something like this to come up but at that time, we didn’t have any such chance. So I am sure that now things will be much better for models who are just starting their careers as they will have many more opportunities,” said Muzammil.