Indian men are pathetic and don’t know how to dress: Gaurav Khanijo

We got model Neeraj Surana to try out three looks from Delhi-based designer Gaurav Khanijo's autumn-winter ’18 collection

By Anannya Sarkar
  • Published 9.10.18, 9:10 PM
  • Updated 11.10.18, 1:40 AM
  • 4 mins read
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The handwoven long silk jacket with front pockets has been teamed with a pair of black linen pants, which marries flowy comfort with a classy silhouette Rashbehari Das

Knowing your body and trying on clothes are the two most important things that “the lazy Indian male population” should keep in mind in order to up their style game, feels Gaurav Khanijo of the eponymous Delhi-based design label, Khanijo. We love his line of sustainable and edgy menswear and we got model Neeraj Surana to try out three looks from his autumn-winter ’18 collection. On the sidelines of the shoot, Gaurav sat down for a tete-a-tete with t2 about the Indian man’s festive fashion. Excerpts: 

Anannya Sarkar:

How would you describe your festive wear?

Gaurav Khanijo:

What I try to do is more classic in terms of cuts as cuts are my forte. Men should look sharp and that’s how I perceive my brand, even if that looks more dandy — I work around that. I love working with prints, colours and embroidery but I do it in a very subtle manner, so that it ends up looking masculine with a touch of the softer side to the men. For example, the jacket with the floral embroidery is not in your face, it’s very subtle and done in an abstract manner.

I have done this small story with actor Sikandar Kher in our Indian line, Route. It’s classic clothes with a lot of handlooms and silks. My last showing at Lakme (Lakme Fashion Week summer/resort 2018) was inspired by the classic Malgudi Days show on TV and I recently did a shoot with those clothes again with another variation. Very vintage, inspired mostly by the ’30s and ’40s... short collars, more fitted on the waist and broader at the hips. We used a lot of khadi for that because it was the fabric in the ’40s.

I feel khadi is overrated because it’s really a very simple fabric; it’s just cotton done well, hand-spun and so beautiful. It is also underrated because khadi is not known; it’s a luxurious fabric. Khadi just does not mean baggy, loose, anti-fit. It’s how you make it. I also work a lot with silk and cotton and now I am starting out with wool. 

The handwoven textured coat with floral motifs, teamed with an indigo-coloured pintucked textured kurta with abstract floral detailing and churidar pants, is festive yet elegant. Wear them together, like Neeraj, or as separates and you’re sure to turn heads.
The handwoven textured coat with floral motifs, teamed with an indigo-coloured pintucked textured kurta with abstract floral detailing and churidar pants, is festive yet elegant. Wear them together, like Neeraj, or as separates and you’re sure to turn heads. Rashbehari Das
Anannya Sarkar:

How do you go about designing for the festive and wedding seasons?

Gaurav Khanijo:

I read somewhere that there is a very thin line between looking like a jadugar and a dulha, so choose your sherwani wisely. Some people end up looking like a magician and some people like that. They feel like, oh they’re getting married and it’s the only time and they should all go bling. I think it should be subtle, classy, more detailed and the focus should be on the texture and the cut. 

Khanijo’s clothes are cool and have attitude. Even though the clothes were flowy, the lines were crisp. I fell in love with the pants he makes... classy and stylish

Neeraj Surana
Anannya Sarkar:

You have three different lines under your label...

Gaurav Khanijo:

When I started doing menswear, I started with mostly Indian clothing. Men like shopping when they have a wedding in the family, that’s when they will get their suits, bandhgalas and kurtas. Now I have broken the brand into three lines — Khanijo Lab, where I do all my experimental stuff; Khanijo Soul is an easy, breathable line with a lot of khadis and linen; and Route is our Indian-wear. I hate Indian wear and Western wear as terms as they are very generic but Route is the festive, traditional clothing that we like in India.

Gaurav Khanijo of the eponymous Delhi-based design label, Khanijo is known for his line of sustainable and edgy menswear
Gaurav Khanijo of the eponymous Delhi-based design label, Khanijo is known for his line of sustainable and edgy menswear Rashbehari Das
Anannya Sarkar:

How challenging is it to be a menswear designer?

Gaurav Khanijo:

Educating our clients on what they are wearing, like the fabric their clothes are made of and other details, is necessary. For most men, it is, ‘Oh wow, this is a great jacket. Let’s buy it.’ 

Anannya Sarkar:

What do you think about the average Indian man’s appetite for fashion?

Gaurav Khanijo:

Indian men are pathetic and don’t know how to dress! The percentage of men who know what they are wearing is very small but it will grow as the youth is the next step. Men now know they have to look good and that they have options. Women educate themselves in terms of fashion because they love clothes. Men don’t really care. They will wear that same shirt twice a week and don’t want to throw their suits. If the fit changes or, say, the wearer becomes thinner or fatter — men don’t care. Men don’t shop too much but when they do, they generally don’t mind spending.

I feel men start understanding fashion by the time they reach their late 30s and early 40s, or the men who travel understand the need for a proper suit and jacket. So men with exposure realise the need for proper clothes. I really like those guys who want a particular colour and fit. So many guys leave it to their mothers and girlfriends to shop for them.


The handloom silk jacket in mint green, teamed with handwoven linen pants in an earthy brown, is a casual affair with a classy cut.
The handloom silk jacket in mint green, teamed with handwoven linen pants in an earthy brown, is a casual affair with a classy cut. Rashbehari Das
Anannya Sarkar:

What are the things that men go wrong with?

Gaurav Khanijo:

I think men need to try the clothes before buying. When they pick up a garment, they don’t like to try as they’re so lazy. If I get somebody to my stall or store and they are weighing their options, I insist on them trying out things. If a man wants a new pair of trousers, they need to know what length they need to wear, their size. If they’re 38, they need to wear 38 but if they like loose clothes, they should buy 40 and not 42. Either they will go all baggy or too skinny. They need to understand their body type and so they need to try more clothes. 

Anannya Sarkar:

Who are the celebrities who are getting their style right?

Gaurav Khanijo:

Arjun Kapoor, Ranveer Singh, Sidharth Malhotra, Farhan Akhtar, Irrfan Khan, Ayushmann Khurrana and Rajkummar Rao have been wearing us and are people who are aware of their style. Irrfan knows his clothes, loves his linen and prioritises comfort. Jim (Sarbh) knows what he wants. This lot has impacted the changing face of fashion.

Also, thanks to social media, men do see who is wearing what and what their options are. There’s still hesitance in experimentation but what they have to realise is that looking good makes you feel good. Kurta and sneakers is a style — you don’t have to follow it but it’s one of the ways of doing it. 


Location: Swabhumi, Calcutta