WHEN Arjun Khanna presented his menswear line Out of Sight,Out of Mind at the recent Summer-Resort 13 edition of Lakme Fashion Week (LFW),the adrenaline rush that hed been missing for three years,gripped him all over again. His models cheered,hooted and even carried him on their shoulders,bringing his show to a dramatic end.
It was great to be back on the ramp. That apart,the collection was well-received, he says. Khanna adds that the response has made him think of expansion. Theres great demand for designer menswear quality clothing,that is. Its a question of tapping it in the right manner. Thats why I am looking at setting up a store in Delhi, he says.
His observation sheds light on the designer menswear scenario in India. On one hand,two prominent menswear initiatives the menswear fashion week and LFWs menswear day havent returned for several seasons. The former had its last showing in 2011 while the latter hasnt had the menswear day since 2009.
If the LFW was anything to go by,menswear is showing more promise now. For instance,many womenswear designers have turned to creating mens clothing as well. Thirteen designers showed mens clothing ranges at LFW this season,with five of them showing it exclusively. Menswear holds a lot of potential a look at the number of premium brands entering the country will tell you that. But its only now that designers are waking up to it. If a designer is a successful name in womens clothing,then the next step is to replicate that success in mens section as well, says Narendra Kumar,well-known for his mens and womens clothing. Vaishali S,who ventured into menswear with her LFW line,adds,It was a natural progression for my label.
The demand for menswear has also been fuelled by a growing clientele for mens accessories. Designer-turned-Bollywood stylist Kunal Rawal showed a range of headgear (helmets),pocket squares,metal tie-knots and emblems and insignias alongside his clothing line at LFW.
For Jaipur-based Rohit Kamra,its the bespoke-loving customer who has contributed to his success. I have believed in sticking to what I do best and since I am doing well within menswear,I dont feel the need to look at other segments, he says.
Designer menswear in India is still far behind the womenswear segment. Khanna and Rawal say the main problem lies in the lack of a strong retail network. There should be a dedicated space for menswear. Even in multi-designer stores,womenswear gets more importance over mens fashion, laments Rawal.
Kumar,meanwhile,emphasises on the need to factor in wearability and versatility at reasonable prices. More often than not,menswear designers ignore this and insist on offering a dramatic take in the name of fashion. Such collections dont get a good start, explains Kumar.