Menswear and a more fluid future

How Indian designers are refreshing fashion for men with gender neutral silhouettes. Plus, a push toward shared and heterosexual clothing

You’ve probably noticed how at least some of the men on every international red carpet today are turning into gender fluid silhouettes — from Harry Styles’s sheer tops and cat bows to Timothée Chalamet’s sequined hoodies. To say that a change is underway is an understatement.

Actor Vijay Varma in a hand-woven metal kimono from Amit Agarwal’s Victor Collection

Closer to home, Indian men’s longtime love affair with polo, linen and denim is now, increasingly, accommodating other silhouettes. From Gucci’s gender-fluid tailoring to the masculine, Abu Jani-Sandeep Khosla theatrical ensembles, the non-binary style is having a moment. And it is transforming the country’s $26 billion menswear market (Italian trade agency). For example, Aditya Birla Fashion & Retail Ltd has joined hands with couturier Tarun Tahiliani to form a new subsidiary to focus on affordable menswear – renowned for its feminine silhouettes and intricate embroidery.

Read also | Street View: Liquid Fashion in India

Womenswear designers like Payal Singhal, Anamika Khanna, and Monisha Jaising are entering men’s wear, and men don’t mind; Labels are flourishing. “It’s not about straight or gay [or anything in between the spectrum] somebody else. Even classic dressers have become hotbeds for vibrant prints, sheer fabrics and dazzling textures and experimental silhouettes,” says Singhal, recalling a recent request from a six-foot-tall man from Pune, who was his Wanted to wear sheer limbs. shirt for the marriage of his son. “I used to hear ‘I want something different’ from women, but now I hear from men.”

Digital Producer Siddharth Batra

Digital Producer Siddharth Batra

sex reduction from clothing

The masculinity that was there a decade ago is far from the definition it is today. Popular digital producer Siddharth Batra is often known to borrow from the wardrobe of his girlfriend and fashion influencer Komal Pandey to reunite her on social media. “If I had my way, I would have a closet for both myself and my partner; Shelves just for tops, bottoms, etc. Tags have never mattered to me for gender-specificities in fashion. I would say, just wear the same clothes, Love is big

He credits the queer community for some stylistic experiments. “I notice a positive trajectory” [towards fluidity] across the gender spectrum. With consumers following suit, finally, brands have also started moving towards an inclusive approach,” says Batra, who is often seen with experimental makeup, ruffles, edgy nail paints and diaphanous separates.

Read also | Changing the lens: Has the rise in non-binary models in Indian fashion led to an inclusive and diverse narrative?

A section of Indian designers are happy that men are not being limited by social conditioning, be it with colours, prints or silhouettes. “Probably too long we have been under the influence of Western culture and tried to adopt what they did, mainly of free-flowing, color-centered, metrosexual Italian men, rather than English men or more casual Americans. instead,” Tahiliani says. “Indian men have worn” Lampblack. Indian grooms wear a huge amount of jewellery, Sarpech, stoles and necklaces, then why should we follow western this decree Black, white and gray on a day-to-day basis?”

Clockwise from top left: Payal Singhal, Shivan and Naresh, Tanisha Rahimtula Agarwal, Abu Jani and Sandeep Khosla, Anaita Shroff Adajania and Amit Agarwal

Clockwise from top left: Payal Singhal, Shivan and Naresh, Tanisha Rahimtula Agarwal, Abu Jani and Sandeep Khosla, Anaita Shroff Adajania and Amit Agarwal

From a design perspective, these blurred lines make the concept of clothing more interesting. Amit Agarwal, who often flaunts metallic and sheer menswear ensembles, finds it exciting to expand his visual imagination. “My first objective is always to create something in which I see beauty and not control what the person receiving it will look like,” he says. Her new men’s and women’s collections feature styles that have been tried and loved by both genders. “Now, more than ever, men and women have the freedom and confidence to express their individuality. We’ve seen this especially in the case of our signature kimono. Although it’s from the men’s line, the response across the gender spectrum is enormous. men styling it shirts And in place of turtleneck tees, and tailored jackets. But we have her partners styled kimono over their saris and dresses.”

From the IconoScape series by Shivan and Naresh

From the IconoScape series by Shivan and Naresh

a shared culture

One could argue that genderless fashion dates back to the ’80s and ’90s, when bootleg cuts and flared trousers offered neutral alternatives. But today’s liquid fashion isn’t just about experimenting for yourself. It stems from Gen Z’s strong, vigorous conversation around sexuality, choice and freedom about the belief that gender is an old construct. Listed, a global fashion shopping platform, revealed that there has been a 33% increase in searches with gender-related keywords this year. Shareable labels are popping up with more frequency, like Stella McCartney’s new genderless apparel line, Shared. And last year, Marc Jacobs launched a polysexual capsule collection for “girls who are boys and boys who are girls” [and] who are neither”.

We need it more in India, and the time has come for it. “Earlier, many of the men I styled used to stick to beautifully cut suits or shirts. had a struggle to convince them to wear a different color [especially a pastel], or a more fluid silhouette. Now they are picking up women’s slim cardigans and printed shirts. Even our biggest sports stars are happy to wear an embroidered denim jacket and team it with cropped pants,” says stylist Anita Shroff Adajania, who is behind some of the best fashion shoots in India (which 2018 can be forgotten) the trend with Ranveer Singh). She adds that her teenage son doesn’t hesitate to borrow his sweatshirts and tees, even if they are purple and pink.

Design from Abu Jani-Sandeep Khosla's Mard, Antara Agni, and Chennai-based Alif's Eugen Capsule

Design from Abu Jani-Sandeep Khosla’s Mard, Antara Agni, and Chennai-based Alif’s Eugen Capsule

Sanya Suri, co-founder of The Pot Plant, a conscious fashion label, is seeing this change reflected in her sales. “Cishet has increased by 30% [cisgender heterosexual] Men opting for gender fluid styles [drape shirts, bandhani jumpsuits, bright colours, layering clothes]. As conversations about gender identity grow, so will the need to make fashion more inclusive. There is a true movement towards recognizing clothing as just what you are, no matter what gender you are.”

Shivan Bhatia of Shivan and Naresh believes that change will now accelerate as the next generation arrives. The resort label has always worked towards innovating and expanding the stereotypical definition of masculinity, particularly through casting for shows and campaigns. “By defining Shivaan and Naresh Man through various mediums of menswear, we are constantly expanding the masculine spectrum. Adopting fashion and beauty is part of this gamut – where you use it to identify yourself, to see where you fit on this spectrum,” he concluded.

with inputs Surya Praful Kumar

Pushpak Sen on the streets of Milan and at his college in Florence

Pushpak Sen on the streets of Milan and at his college in Florence

saree in matching

The bearded man in a sari with red lips and a red bindi will always be noticed. But for Pushpak Sen, who is pursuing his Masters in Fashion Communication and Marketing in Florence, that is just who he is. “I have been wearing a saree as a dhoti since my school days. I’ve always been experimental when it comes to sartorial choices because I’ve always thought about non-living things that gender considered ridiculous. The 26-year-old (@thebongmunda) recently shared pictures of her rocking saris, shirt And churidar On the streets of Milan and Barcelona.

How different was the reception from Delhi or Mumbai? “I am more celebrated as an Indian outside India,” he says. “While on social media, people of my country show me love and support, I am not sure if it would be okay for me to walk in Connaught Place or New Market area of ​​Kolkata. But on the streets of Milan or Barcelona, ​​people either go about their own business or, often, they come and say the best things. Even in my college, my friends, professors, complain to the security personnel when I am not wearing a saree or not ready for class.”

Arjun Sudhiri

talking about beauty

Men are paying more attention to how they look. “He has started going to dermatologists, and is spending a lot on skin care,” says Vasudha Rai. WeekendBeauty columnist. “They go into a lot of grooming that can’t be seen – nice skin, clean hands. A guy in Raipur I interviewed recently is spending up to ₹1 lakh on skin care!”

The rise of social media has had a huge impact on the way men understand self-care. “Most male figures [on these platforms] “By sharing their routines and talking about products they enjoy, have normalized self-care,” says Melbourne-based blogger Arjun Sudhir (@justaskarjun). “Obviously, there are still people who have old-fashioned notions of what is considered feminine and masculine, but it’s come a long way over the years. [and still has a long way to go, especially in India]Most of the men he talks to are interested in targeted, results-oriented skin care. “I see many people asking for vitamin C, hyaluronic acid, and retinol product recommendations. Serums seem to be very popular because they are designed to target specific skin concerns such as acne and hyperpigmentation, and cleansers, exfoliators and eye products are also in demand,” he says, referring to gender-specific skin. Care is going out with men.Moving towards unisex cosmetic products.

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