Indian male chants a new style mantra

Mon Sep 29, 2008 6:20am EDT
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By Lyndee Prickitt

MUMBAI (Reuters Life!) - The big mustache, silk shirt and gold accessories-look that survived for decades is now being replaced by a haute couture hero: India's men are taking their fashion cues from the global scene.

And this fashion fever is not just for the rich -- India's growing ranks of wealthy, well-heeled and Western educated professionals with careers in multinational companies and a chunk of disposable income are leading the change.

India's economy, one of the fastest growing in the world, is also turning the Asian country into an international business force, which in turn means more global exposure for businessmen who are keen to look the part.

On Monday, men's magazine GQ India hits the newsstands, following in the footsteps of other male-only publications such as Men's Health, Maxim, and FHM, and experts are saying this is further proof that Indian men are embracing more global fashions.

"A certain segment of male Indian society has always pampered itself and spent a lot on clothes," Che Kurrien, GQ India editor, told Reuters.

"Add to that a lower strata of society that always wanted to spend lavishly but couldn't afford to. Well, now they can. Combine the two groups and you have a huge market."

Gone are the days when sherwanis, high-collared knee-length coats for men, were the only acceptable businesswear. Professionals are now spending a lot on officewear to fit in at meetings abroad or while doing business with foreign clients.

"It's a drastic change from before," Kurrien said. "We've already had a lot of requests from men, say from small Indian cities, who want to know how dress for a business meeting in London. They want to impress. Appearances matter now."   Continued...

<p>A model presents a creation during the first day of India Fashion week in Mumbai March 29, 2008. REUTERS/Punit Paranjpe</p>