Fashion: Is it A Modi jacket or A Nehru jacket?

When people mention the word fashion, most would think of high heels, make-up and clothes that are extraordinary looking for women. Only few people would really think about men. And, why is that? People believe that men are too busy to even think about fashion. Is that true?

Well, that is not the case for the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi. He is one political leader who believes that you have to look good even when you are dealing with national issues. You will never see Modi in a public appearance using shabby clothes. Always in his neat and crisp kurtas and jacket, fashion gurus can say that Modi is not just serious with politics, but also with his fashion taste. Most of the time Modi would be in his half-sleeve kurtas and slim fit ‘Nehru’ jacket that shows a row of buttons in front and a mandarin collar. What makes his style different is his color preference. The Prime Minister prefers rainbow inspired kutras or jackets. You will see him using chrome yellow, sky blue, red, light orange or peach attire. The first prime minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru only used traditional colors such as black or grey.

Moreover, it is very interesting to note that fans or followers and even cabinet members of Modi show their solid support by using the same style. In Sarojini Nagar marketplace, hundreds of jackets are seen hanging in every boutique. The style of Modi is so popular that the ‘Nehru’ jacket is now called the ‘Modi’ jacket. The sales of the jacket style have reached 100 percent according to Lakshman, the person-in-charge of Khadi Gramodyog Bhavan.

Everyone may be demanding for the Modi style and color, but old timers will always call the jacket ‘Nehru jacket’. Aside from his political work and success, the jacket will always be the legacy of Jawaharlal Nehru simple because he was the first to use it.

Be as it may,  a lot of Indians should say thank you to Modi for making the Nehru jacket well-known not just in India but around the world. According to Vogue India editor Priya Tanna it is very rare to see “such a strong convergence between what a politician in India stands for and his clothing.”

Modi did not just influence the political arena, but also the fashion and movie world. Chanel and other big names in fashion presented their own take in the Nehru jacket. Just last year, Marchesa proudly showed their Spring/Summer collection at the New York fashion week. Their collection was Indian inspired. In showbiz, big movie stars, like Sean Connery and Mike Myers, were also seen sporting the style.

Meanwhile, the latest political leader seen using a Nehru jacket is Chinese President Xi Jinping. When Jinping visited India last September, Prime Minister Narendra Modi presented a Nehru jacket as a gift. The Chinese president used the jacket with his white shirt when they toured the Sabarmati Ashram.

So whatever the name, be it “Modi’ jacket or ‘Nehru’ jacket, one thing is sure the slim coat with buttons and mandarin collar will never die. It may fade a while, but it will never die because it is a timeless classic!

The International and National Icon: The Jacket Beyond Time – Nehru Jacket

The ‘Nehru jacket’ is now living without boundaries. Conquering both the political and fashion world, the jacket was first proudly worn by Jawaharlal Nehru, the very first Prime Minister of India. Its popularity started in the 1960s, but is still part of the Indian latest style up to this day – thanks to their latest Prime Minister Naredra Modi. The two jackets really look the same. Both jackets have mandarin collars, comfy, but tight fit and a row of buttons in front. The Nehru jacket is more formal-looking because of the traditional colors used like brown, black or grey. While Modi prefers the more unconventional colors like chrome yellow, sky blue or other pastel colors.

Today, the jacket takes a new level. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) members turned the jacket style as part of their uniform. In fact, the way to show your loyalty to Prime Minister Modi is by using the said jacket style.

But using the unique style was already done even before the birth of BJP. Well-known singers and bands like Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., Monkees and the Beatles all used Nehru jackets in their concerts in the sixties. Sammy Davis Jr. even stated that he is a proud owner of 200 Nehru jackets. Moreover, the jacket style gets featured in some movie greats like ‘Dr. No.’ and ‘Austen Powers.’

But the biggest change happened when fashion gurus made a daring move. They made their own unique artful conception for women! All thanks to couturiers like Tarun Tahiliani, Raghavendra Rathore, Abu-Sandeep Khosla, Rohit Bal, Vikram Phadnis and JJ Valaya. In fact, well-known Chanel presented their own sophisticated style of the jacket in their Paris-Bombay collection last 2011.

More Style, More Colors!

Aside from choosing bright or pastel colors for his jacket, Naredra Modi also made some changes in the kurtas style. Instead of sticking to plain white full sleeve kurtas, Modi opted for a more contemporary and casual colored and half-sleeve kurtas. According to Bipinbhai Chauhan, the personal tailor of the Prime Minister, Modi believes that kutras can have other colors as well as style.  With the ‘new kutras’ style, Jade Blue clothing line managed by Chauhan has sold more or less 35,000 pieces in different outlets all over India. It costs around Rs 995 to Rs 2,500.

‘NaMo’ Online!

In 2012, a NaMo online store opened. It is more than jackets and kutras; if you can’t get enough of NaMo products, you can check them out online. As of today, they also sell koti or sleeveless jackets, pen drives, t-shirts and stationery products. Their goodies are under three leagues: Namo Tech, Namo Mantra and Namo Lekh. The brand likewise sells butter milk and has opened some NaMo tea stalls.

But that is not all! Here is more good news! The online store proudly introduces their own pain balm called ‘Dard anek, ilaj ek’ or ‘one that cures many pains’. According to NaMo Store spokesperson Manish Saini, the balm can cure headache, body ache, nasal and cold congestion. Saini added that the product “metaphorically represents the quality of NaMo (Naredra Modi) where his is the answer to all of the country’s woes.”

Their newest product is available online or at any of their 1,000 retail stores all over the country.

Passion for the ‘Modi Style’ Fashion: Nehru Jackets All the Way!

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.