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Is ‘made-to-measure’ the rising revolution in men’s fashion in India?

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Let’s be honest… Most fashion brands – international and Indian, don’t know how to make perfect fitting clothes for Indian men! They typically make shirts in standard sizes and most Indian men don’t fit those standard sizes! So either all Indian men have to start working out, change their body proportions disproportionately  and become those standard sizes or they have to make do with whatever’s available! That’s why we usually see men say… “It’s loose on d shoulder but hides my paunch… Will buy this!” Or “I know the length of this shirt is not for me… It’s too long, but I’ll just have to tuck it in!” Or “the sleeves of this jacket r too long so let’s just have that altered!”

But do Indian men ever wonder if there was a better option to either just compromising or wearing I’ll-fitting clothes?

Ever thought of getting your everyday work-wear tailored!? And no please… don’t immediately think of our grandfathers getting their shirts stitched from the baabu around the corner of the street… That’s NOT what I’m talking about! In fact, that’s probably what turned all the men (and their women) away for made-to-measure everyday wear in the first place. While men’s tailors still stuck to age old shirts with stiff collars and cuffs, in came all the western brands (and even Indian one’s – Peter England, Allen Solly, Provogue, etc.) with their Friday dressing and the kind of styling people only saw in movies. Women urged their men to switch over to the ‘cooler’, more stylish ready-made wear and men’s tailors suddenly became the most uncool dudes around!

Few years ago when Zara came into India, it changed the way men looked around us. Suddenly the fashion quotient went up! Everyone was seen in really cool clothes (weather you could carry it off or not, was a different thing altogether… but the clothes were good! :P) But Even with Zara, the cuts and styling is sexy but the fits aren’t made for most of our guys!

Recently however, I see a shift in attitude and few men are refusing to accept standardized mass produced stuff that is thrown at them in stores!

A couple of years ago, Mr. Wolf told me that he was sick of wearing shirts that didn’t fit him perfectly! I saw nothing wrong with his shirts until he pointed out the slightly over-sized shoulders and the longish shirt length! Those who know him have almost always seen him with rolled up sleeves! While it adds greatly to his wild wolf-on-a-mission charm, showing off his fore-arm tattoos, I also know the reason is that he feels standard ready-made shirt-sleeves are too loose for him!

So this day, he decided that he didn’t want to go through the tyranny of ill-fitting clothes anymore! He pushed me into the car with a bag of his favourite Zara shirts n headed off to Bandra. We landed up in front of Kachins and I freaked! “Traditional tailor! Really! U wanna wear uncle-shirts now mr. Wolf!?”

He spread out his stylish looking Zara shirts and told the gentleman there… ‘I need this made for me!’ The guy looked at it, flipped it around a couple of times n said. “Done sir. Please choose your fabric!” Still a little skeptical, we first ordered 2! Then we ordered another 4 and then another 6! It was followed by trousers (for which he gave his ‘jeans’ as a sample for cut and styling), jackets, blazers, bundis and a tux! Yesterday, I collected 12 brand new, sexy shirts from Kachins for Mr.wolf and believe me… Zara doesn’t look as good on him anymore! And for people who might think ‘tailoring’ is cheap or ‘bespoke’ too expensive…these shirts, all custom-made and sexy ended up costing him almost the same as those Zara’s and Marks n Spencer’s!

And if you’ve got your own creative style sense (or a girlfriend / wife who’s creative) you could add your own styling elements to it!

Mr. Wolf for example loves adding his own little touches… like a single button loop, shoulder loops or Chinese collars n different cuts… and the 60yrs+ master at Kachins loves to play along and experiment!

This got me thinking that maybe Mr. Wolf’s not the only one doing this. Maybe there are more and maybe it’s a niche but rising trend where men are finally realizing that they need great fitting clothes too… not just good looking ones! (I’m very interested in seeing what Raymond does with their upcoming ready-to-wear line… given that having been in the made-to-measure market for so long, they know Indian men’s bodies better than anyone else in the market! I have some real high hopes here!! ;))

Anyway, it just takes you with a little bit of courage n imagination to get what u want! And great fitting clothes, is believe me, something you don’t just want… It’s what every Indian man desperately needs!!

A generation older than us completely moved towards ‘westernism’ trying to copy everything that the western world threw at them! But our generation is about finding our own individuality. (Or at least that’s what everyone these days likes to believe!) And what’s more individual than having our own bespoke outfits, right?! Bespoke, by the way, is a luxury that majority of the preople in most western countries can’t afford and just because we (Indians) can, we tend to discount it!

I hope you gentleman, reading this post, is one of those setting the bar high with getting on to this trend (or should I call it, a revolution)! And if not, I sure hope I managed to convince you that you deserve better and that your women do not like seeing you in those ill-fitting clothes you think are cool just because they are branded!

PS: And while there’s Kachins in Bandra and masculine in Juhu for formals, I really really with all my heart wish there was someone who made bespoke t-shirts! Not just bespoke prints, but bespoke t-shirt fits for men!! If u know someone, please tell me! I know a lottttt of men… lots and lots of them… who desperately need it!

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Sonal Agrawal

Sonal is a Post Graduate in Luxury Brand Management from Polimoda Institute of Fashion Design and Marketing, Florence (Italy) and has over 9 years of experience as a Brand Strategist working in the advertising industry. She has also been a Consumer Insights Miner specializing in fashion and luxury brands.

She’s a fashion enthusiast who believes in trying out and pursuing everything that catches her fancy… be it different styles or even different career choices! She went from being a brand strategist to research; to being a jewelry designer; to acting; to writing. Loves to explore new cultures, travel, dance, eat, read and to grow younger with every passing year!

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About Me

Sonal is a Post Graduate in Luxury Brand Management from Polimoda Institute of Fashion Design and Marketing, Florence (Italy) and has over 9 years of experience as a Brand Strategist working in the advertising industry.



She has also been a Consumer Insights Miner specializing in fashion and luxury brands.