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Draping Indian Men: Manish Arora On What Sets Indian Menswear Apart From The Rest Of The World

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Unapologetic and unconventional - these two words, as insufficient as they might be, best describe the genius that Manish Arora is. He is one of the few veterans of the Indian fashion industry who has been showcasing his sartorial creations in fashion weeks all over the world, for well over two decades now. 

designer manish arora on indian couture and menswear© Manish Arora

To get an idea of his prowess as a designer and more importantly as one of the luminaries of the global fashion scene, one needs to look at the accolades he has collected over the years. The most notable of these accolades will have to be the Chevalier de la Legion d'Honneur or the Knight of The Legion of Honour, the highest honour that the French bestow on any individual.

designer manish arora on indian couture and menswear© Manish Arora

Known for his trademark use of a palette that primarily consists of the colour pink and gold, Manish's creations are a perfect amalgamation of fantasy and contemporary realism, and often are often considered to be kitsch.

We sat down with Manish for a candid chat over the Indian fashion scene, the state of men's fashion in India, and how, e-commmerce is changing the way designers think and create.

As a veteran designer of the Indian Fashion industry, how would you say have we grown over the years? 

The Indian fashion industry is now a recognised trendsetter in the global market and has a name for itself. Indian textiles and craftsmanship is now applauded and recognised all around the world and is also being showcased on an international front. 

designer manish arora on indian couture and menswear© Manish Arora

There is now a demand for Indian designer wear as our contemporaries are now recognising the individuality that we offer to the global market. Going back to Indian roots, it's a proud feeling to see the recognition that India is getting.

What direction do you see the industry taking?

The Indian fashion industry is now an established one and we see it proudly growing in a positive direction. Globalisation has helped the world become an easily connected and more accessible place where fashion is no longer an alien concept. 

designer manish arora on indian couture and menswear© Manish Arora

Today the Indian consumer is a discerning one who is conscious about what he is wearing and what the garment is made of. He no longer blindly follows trends but is committed to making fashion work for him.

How big of an impact has e-commerce or online shopping made on couture?

It is often said that every action has an equal reaction and in the same way e-commerce has impacted the couture industry in an acceptable way. Ready to wear has obviously become more accessible much to the joy of patrons all over the world. Couture is classic and reserved for runways where the designers get to have the liberty of thought and expression. Translation of thoughts in a fashionable way, that's what couture encapsulates.

designer manish arora on indian couture and menswear© Instagram/manisharorafashion

Tell us something about your collaboration with Koovs.

This is our second collaboration. Based on the theme of 'Love' it has some of our classic archived pieces which we are sharing with KOOVS to spread it across the entire country. It is a 40 piece collection which includes some exciting accessories, like shoes, passport holders, bum bags beside clothing.

designer manish arora on indian couture and menswear© Manish Arora

What is that one trend in men's fashion that you don't like, or don't agree with?

A simple pair of blue jeans. They're too simple for my taste.

designer manish arora on indian couture and menswear© Instagram/manisharorafashion

What are your views on the debate around Maximalism Vs Minimalism?

Believing that all elements work in synergy, my style revolves around using elements to the best of their ability. I believe that nothing is ever too much, but there is always a way of looking at things. Appreciative of the more is less theory, bigger and brighter is always better and that's why my style is individualistic and is a medium for many to express their emotions via fashion.

designer manish arora on indian couture and menswear© Instagram/manisharorafashion

Where do you think men's fashion in India is heading?

It is changing a lot, in terms of fashion, men are getting more aware of what works for them and they have their own personal style. It is only going to become a bigger market in the next 5 years.

Three words you'd use to describe your signature style.

Bizarre, Whimsical, Kitsch.

designer manish arora on indian couture and menswear© Instagram/manisharorafashion

Do you think traditional Indian menswear is evolving?

Yes, by going back to its roots.

One celebrity who can teach everyone else a lesson or two on how to pull off the Indian aesthetic elegantly, when it comes to menswear.

Ranveer Singh

designer manish arora on indian couture and menswear© Instagram/manisharorafashion

One thing men should never do while dressing up in traditional Indian wear.

Men should never wear sneakers when going ethnic.

One traditional Indian menswear item you believe every Indian man should have in his wardrobe.

A well-tailored Nehru Jacket.

Men's fashion in India slipped through the cracks of the mainstream fashion scene and has stayed under the radar for far too long. Take a look at any fashion event - fashion weeks, fashion shows et all, and you'll see how in most of them, menswear seems to be an afterthought. Furthermore, shows focussing exclusively on menswear are a rarity.

As a series, Draping Indian Men is an earnest attempt to celebrate the changing phase of men's fashion in India, and those pioneering geniuses who have come to define our sartorial sensibilities.  


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