Suket Dhir is an Indian designer who bagged the coveted International Woolmark Prize for menswear this year. He spoke to MW about how his designs possess an Indian essence and how Indian men shouldn’t shy away from experimenting with colours in their wardrobe.  

 

  • I am fairly narcissistic; I am my own muse. I only became a designer because no one used to make the kind of clothes I want to wear.

 

  • I wear my nationality on my sleeve. While none of my designs are distinctly ethnic, each of them has an essence that is Indian.

 

  • While a skinny fit may suit many, they don’t necessarily suit all Indian men. It is important for a man to understand what suits his body.

 

  • I own my masculinity. I don’t need to avoid wearing prints to appear manly.

 

  • I like reminiscing about a bygone era — an age without machines, technology and the trappings of modern stressors. I find inspiration by looking back in time.

 

  • Fashion is cyclical. It is always wise to stick to classics with quirky elements than copying every transient trend.

 

  • Through time immemorial, Indian weavers and artisans have been associated with kings and royalty – befitting takers for their luxurious offerings. Even today, our skilled artisans need to be educated to market themselves as luxury and pitch themselves to the right audience who will pay for their services.

 

  • The Indian man is an ‘occasional’ dresser. He turns out fabulously at a wedding or a formal event. More thought and effort needs to be put into his daily wear.

 

  • Whether it is my views on sustainable fashion or community fair trade, I prefer natural non-activism as compared to guilt-tripping my consumer into buying merchandise by negative referencing.

 

  • Invest in great boxers and socks — these small details can go a long way in leaving an impression.

 

  • Be presentable — even when you are off to sleep.

 

  • Indian men shouldn’t shy away from wearing colour. Caribbean and African men wear bright shades and big prints with such élan. What should be avoided are subdued shades like brown and gray.