Going through magazines and browsing online, I’m sure most of you would also feel that Fashion is a very Female Centric term. And by Female Centric I’m not trying to be misogynistic or anti-feminist, but the thing is that this is an Industry where from models to streetstyle to Bridal Fashion, it all usually focuses on women.
Particularly in South Asian countries, especially Pakistan where the society is more patriarchal and chauvinistic as opposed to other countries. It would make sense as to why Fashion is not seen as something that men could or should associate to. Where young boys and men are usually nurtured in a way that Fashion becomes a sort of taboo and guys who like to dress up well usually become social pariahs.
In Pakistan, this whole concept really takes shape as the Fashion Industry, which is one of the most lucrative economic assets for the country, is purely a female centric notion (for the lack of a better word). You see, if we break it down, Fashion weeks are 3 to 4 days events with a majority of brands showing collections for women. When it comes to Fashion for men in Pakistan, sadly most people in the Industry would link it to Grooms’ Fashion. Where elaborate Sherwanis and Kurtas somehow become the sole link between Fashion and Men in Pakistan.
Breaking it down further, there are very few brands for men in Pakistan! I can literally sit here and list down most if not all of them. If a guy wants to get a suit made, he would have a potential list of 5 – 6 brands/shops that he can go to, to find the suit he wants. You have Republic by Omar Farooq, Ammar Belal, Munib Nawaz, Amir Adnan and now upcoming brands like Jermyn Street Clothing and Fibonacci Bespoke. Which is why a majority of men would chose to go the Bespoke way and get a suit made for themselves in a way that pleases them.
Somehow all Red-carpet events seem to focus more on what women wear and not as much on what men wear. And if you think about it, from a business perspective of these Media houses, its probably because Men in this part of the world do not really give a rats ass about what another guy wore to an event. Women on the other hand would screen magazine images, carefully gauge social media trends, conclude what new length of Lawn Kurtas seems to be more popular amongst the masses, what all the rich and elite are wearing to weddings, if a velvet choli seems to be more in trend or not, and the list goes on and on. Men on the other hand would just take out whatever touches their hands first in their closet and wear it. Sadly, thats how guys in this part of the world usually operate! A weird thing that I have personally noticed is how the richest of men in Pakistan look like they had their great-grandfathers pick out their clothes. It just doesnt add up. I mean if youre worth a billion dollars as per Forbes and other magazines, why can’t you spend a little time and get a nice suit made for yourself?
But why is that? Why cant guys seem to think about Fashion and Style and being dapper! I mean your style is a reflection of your personality. Your style defines how seriously you take your own being when it comes to your priorities in life! Your style is an expression of your being. Men should not really be afraid of figuring that bit out. If we go back to the a few decades, I think the men in Pakistan and South Asia were more Fashion conscious. They spent time on themselves! If you sit with your grandfathers you would know, how they are more particular about clothes than most of their grandsons. Having the perfect shave, a decent haircut, wearing coats and overcoats, polished shoes; everything about their generation seemed more dapper.
Well it would not to wrong to say that over the years Men have become more Fashion conscious. Even in our part of the world, young guys have started paying more attention to the way their grooming and the way they dress up. In my opinion, the advent of international institutions like Toni & Guy, led by the very well groomed and dapper Shammal Qureshi (Creative Director of the Northern Region in Pakistan), paved the way for others to fill a void. After the brand opened its Salon in Lahore, things changed tremendously. People started realizing the importance of a well groomed look, something which was not really happening on the same scale before because such services were not being provided for men really. Moreover, with the evolution of media and pop culture that is being directly marketed through social media, young men have started paying more attention to the way clothes fit. Even if it’s a simple pair of jeans, now a days guys would go an extra mile to make sure that their skinny jeans fit them properly and their blazers don’t droop around the shoulders. We still have a long way to go but at least there has been a visible progression in the right direction. Social Media has played a huge role in all of this, and if you come to think of it, it has only blown up over the last few years. Instagram curates all these street style images from around the world and what better way of gauging trends than by observing what men wear on the streets of some of the biggest cosmopolitans of the world.
So gentlemen, its a request, rather a plea, please start investing in yourself. Spend a little time to iron the t-shirt that you wear so casually because it reflects the person you are.
When a woman wears a pair of high heels, her entire physicality and stature changes. She becomes more poised, her back becomes more erect, the way she walks, her gait changes completely and she somehow turns into a creature made out of glass! Sophistication kicks in and her high heels put her on a raised pedestal and makes her feel good about herself. Its the same thing with men. When men wear suits, the same things happen. The posture, body language, walk, everything changes. We become more conscious of ourselves because well thats how the brain works. One starts feeling good about oneself and then you try to do whatever you can to maintain that.
So if you like the idea of being stylish and fashionable, be it. It really wont compromise your masculinity.