Although politicians have for long tried to reproduce the people they represent in the clothes they wear, our PM Narendra Modi has also managed to create an everlasting image with his Kurtas. His sartorial taste is not something he acquired suddenly as the Chief Minister or the Prime Minister. He is a total style icon and has an individual style of his own.
He believes in the Gujarati proverb that says a man’s worth is determined by what he wears. He dresses differently when in India and when travelling abroad. Modi’s love for Khadi is not new. It is reported that “When he was the Gujarat Chief Minister, he used to visit Khadi outlets in Ahmedabad or Gandhinagar every year in October to buy the fabric and apparels for himself. He was always followed by his cabinet colleagues and top officials.” Modi’s usual attire is a Kurta and vest, and his unusual half-sleeve Kurta is known as the Modi Kurta. The Prime Minister’s clothes are made of silk or cotton, are crisply ironed and are handmade in Gujarat.
Modi’s ‘Kurta-Jacket’ combo has now become the latest craze among youngsters with around 1,500 pieces being sold daily in Khadi outlets. It was Jawaharlal Nehru who used to wear these jackets and perhaps Modi made it more famous. According to the Managing director of JadeBlue Lifestyle India Ltd, Modi has popularised it and taken it to the masses. Nehru used to largely wear white and off-white jackets. He never wore colours. Modi ji brought in colours and a new design. It has become a style statement even among the corporates. This Nehru coat or jacket is named after India’s first Prime Minister ‘Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, who used to wear Western-style Achkan in his routine. During the 10th century, the jacket was not actually a jacket but a short shirt worn over a longer Kurta and under a certain kind of coat, only worn by men. The basic structure of the Nehru jacket, however, has remained the same throughout time.
Modi’s wardrobe has gained a huge amount of attention. Though Modi is a big fan of brand names, his outfits tend to reflect a connection to his roots. He is very particular about his look and has “shunned the shabby and crumpled Kurtas and Dhotis/Pyjamas — the staple political costume of the traditional Indian politician. There are a number of outlets across the country where Modi-wear is being sold. In Ahmedabad, a shop sells jackets and Kurtas reportedly manufactured with ‘Modi’s blessings’. According to The New York Times, known for his attire, Modi is inspired what is known as the Modi Kurta, “a revisionist version of the classic Indian tunic shirt with half-length sleeves.” In the recent few years, the Modi Kurta has become famous world over. Fashion experts also endorse the fact that Modi jacket has darts at the pockets that give a slimming effect to Modi.
The Modi Kurta has a legendary following among people but this widely acclaimed ‘style statement’ that it has become very simple origins. On the origins of the ‘Modi Kurta’, Modi says, “My work with the RSS and BJP not only meant excessive travelling, but also uncertain and punishing schedules. And, as someone who always washed his own clothes, I realised that washing a full sleeved Kurta was tougher and more time consuming so I decided to cut his Kurtas into half sleeved ones.” Thus, Modi Kurta was born! It is clear that apart from being a dynamic leader, he has with his stunning styling sense has shown that with big powers do come big responsibilities and it even respect his style.
In fact, his fondness for bright colours and well-cut jackets reflect a distinct sartorial taste. It’s interesting to know why the world is convinced that Modi is the new style icon of India. During his years as an emerging leader he used to cut the sleeves of the Kurtas short to serve the dual purpose: he had to wash little and the Kurtas occupied less space in his bag.
Don’t we think that Modi, whose appearance began to display signs of finesse about a decade back, clearly recognises the role of dressing in creating a personality cult all over the world?