Wednesday, July 06, 2005
Mujhe rang de
Replacing the staid stripes with sequins, banal checks with brocade patches and formal suits with fun shirts, men are adding more colour to their lives, believes India Today.
I asked half a dozen young men who work in my office and each of them gasped," I wouldn't be caught dead in that". That being the floral print pink shirt worn by the model in pic above.
And I get the feeling not many guys would disagree.
Thing is, every media vehicle worth its salt is desperately searching for trends. But there's a difference between 'trend' and 'trendy' - as trendspotter Irma Zandl so rightly points out:
Trend vs Trendy:
Why it's important to understand the difference.
A trend is driven by demographics, lifestyle, technology - it moves forward steadily and relentlessly. It provides the foundation for building businesses and new brands/categories.
Trendy phenomenon or fads - often seem to spring up overnight, burn intensely and then die out just as rapidly e.g. scooters, swing dancing, gin martinis. "Trendy" looks good but generally does not fit into the pattern of people's lives.
Flowery pink shirts do not fit into the pattern of men's lives and hence, in my opinion, need to be classified as 'trendy' - for p3 and wannabe p3 people. "Our niche market is the rich daddy-kid and the yuppie," says the MD of Tuscan Verve. Point taken - a market exists. But why does the writer have to make sweeping statements like:
"Checks and pinstripes are bowing out to colours, frill and funk. Men's wardrobes are resembling women's, with embroidered collars, patchwork pieces and retro prints."
Really? Checks and pinstripes bowing out to embroidery? Flamboyant shirts are going to be loungewear or clubwear - not replace standard business clothing or Friday dressing.Even for rich daddy-kids and yuppies. I mean, who will take a male CEO in a pink paisley shirt seriously??
The article, predictably, concentrates only on the tiny designerwear market (declaring breathlessly: Rohit Bal's floral and polka dotted applique shirts are 'flying off the shelves'). Except for a brief mention to Provogue - a relatively mass brand.
But yes, there is actually a trend hidden away in the focus on trendy.
Men do want to go beyond blue and grey - they want to look good. But except for a tiny fraction of a fraction they do not identify themselves as 'metrosexuals'. They want to look like guys, not girls.
So when pink has to be added to the wardrobe, brands like Arrow are the ones which will do the trick. The normally staid company has become a lot more adventurous of late. It's introduced colours like bright pink and lime green pinstripes (and it looks quite decent!).
Allen Solly - the Friday dressing people - have lots of colour in their store. But it's all checks and stripes, in novel and interesting design and colour combinations.
Will they introduce paisley prints and embroidery? I think not. Yes, Indian men are now more style conscious and willing to experiment. But like I said, the experimentation will be within certain bounds of masculinity.
It's like guys may have started wearing beads - but they're NOT going to adopt dangling earrings. At least, I hope, not in my lifetime...