Suit yourself, man!, Business Line, Jul 2012

This article was published as a cover feature in the Weekend Life supplement of The Hindu Business Line on 20 July 2012 . Based on an interview with Paresh Lamba, one of India’s top Indian men’s fashion designers, the article talks about his work, the changing face of fashion in India, and why he doesn’t design for women.

What is the best thing a man can wear? According to fashion designer Paresh Lamba, it is a classic suit. He says that’s what women want, too. “I ask women what they think… any woman would say that a man looks best in a suit. A jacket takes a man from ordinary to extraordinary. You could be in a crowd wearing a shirt… you wear a nice suit and suddenly you stand out. I am always telling men, ‘You should have jackets’. Overplay it, don’t underplay it.”

And when Lamba speaks, men listen. One of India’s leading men’s designers, he is sought after by top-notch corporates, actors and even politicians to add a dash of style to their wardrobe. If you thought former Karnataka chief minister B.S. Yeddyurappa looked well-attired during the 2010 Global Investors Meet in Bangalore, the credit goes to Lamba.

We meet at his flagship store located on Bangalore’s upmarket MG Road. There is a buzz of energy around him, surely from a passion for what he does. “I enjoy creating something new every day that makes somebody look good. That is my adrenaline,” he says.

He developed interest in fashion at an early age — “I was enamoured by clothes as a kid” — but didn’t plan a career in designing clothes. He found his father’s business, production and distribution of films, “boring” and instead set out to become a shoe designer. “I was going to set up a factory near Delhi. I got my land and loans approved for a joint venture with an Italian company.”

But after a visit to his cousin’s shoe store in Bangalore, he changed his mind in favour of a clothes business. He decided to focus on menswear: “I started going out, meeting people… I saw exquisitely dressed women, but men who needed help.”

That was in the early 1990s — when fashion, let alone couture and bespoke, wasn’t exactly a buzz word on the street. Lamba’s decision was met with scepticism. “My father said, ‘What the hell are you getting into?’” he recalls with a grin.

(The article continues. Read the full article at the Business Line website: Suit yourself, man!)