Fashion in Politics? Why not! If your job entails a lot of public appearances, it is best to look good. Being fashionable might be an additional requirement if you are a politician. In fact, there are some political leaders who are also fashion trendsetters. To name a few, Chinese leader Mao Zedong started the Zhongshan suit. Cuba leader Fidel Castro also started the use of track suits. The eye glasses worn by Sarah Pallin every time she appears on national TV could also be considered a fashion starter.

In India, a stylish jacket called ‘Nehru’ was first worn by their first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. It is a hip length coat with a mandarin collar. Because of its elegant appearance the Nehru jacket had its own transformation. Other political leaders seen using Nehru jackets are Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott and former US President Bill Clinton.

From Nehru to Modi fashion …

The ‘new’ Nehru jacket is well presented by India’s latest Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Last September, Modi visited the United States wearing his bright-colored Nehru jackets. His fashion statement has also influenced his Cabinet members. In fact, some people changed the name of the jacket from Nehru to Modi jacket. Former Congressman Natwar Singh even called it a ‘sartorial choice’. Modi’s jacket collection is open or buttoned up in different bright and pastel colors. Modi proudly wears them during foreign visits. But according to Modi’s personal tailor, Bipin Chauhan, Modi never wears green Modi jacket because green is the color of Muslims.

Today, the Modi style is not just part of the Indian fashion, but has conquered the fashion industry globally; with some modifications of course. First, the Modi jacket style became unisex. Both male and female can now use the jacket as part of their own fashion taste. The length of the jacket for women may vary as well as the pattern. Women prefer bolder, brighter patterns with the sleeves made shorter. While men now choose pastel colored jackets like pink, baby blue and mint green.

To make the jacket stand out they also use stylish buttons and pockets. The jacket can go with a half-sleeved Modi kurta and a matching pajama for a more refined look. It can have single or double vents and may use materials like cotton, vinyl, velvet, sharkskin or wool. For a more contemporary appearance and to make the collar stand erect a hook is used. The jacket may or may not have pockets with stylish buttons.  If with pockets, the style is slanted or sided. Some Indian men also use their jackets with the dhoti pants or the Jodhpuri pants. The pants may have some pleats or none at all. And, to complete the wardrobe one can wear the Rajasthani juttis or Punjabi juttis.

Chauhan gets credit for the ‘Modi’ style of fashion. He owns Jade Blue clothing line and plans to penetrate the fashion industry in Britain, Southeast Asia and United States. The Modi fashion style is so popular today that it even has its own website – www.modimania.com.

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