For my first blog, I thought we could rewind a bit and figure out the evolution of today’s desi Gentleman. Its been quite a journey so far and the progression continues because he has the balls to reach for and own his traditions and values, let me explain.
Nawab family (unknown) picture from 1912
When the East India Co. took over the subcontinent, many men chose to live in denial and did not accept their new bosses. These were the ones left behind in all walks of life. Then there were those who accepted their fate and chose to learn to blend into the lifestyles of their new leaders. They wore the same suits, drank the same drinks, drove their cars, learnt their language and even learnt how to dance like them, these were called “brown sahabs” these were the defining people of the movement of the desi gents.
Gandhi and Lord Mountbatten in a meeting in 1947
The problem. They didn’t belong to that “gora” culture that they were imposing on themselves hence they could come across as the “ghareeb rishtaydar” (someone who has borrowed ill fitting clothes from a friend to wear to any occasion). These people tried too hard to blend in and lost their identity. Brown Sahab became a demeaning word. Fast forward a century and half:
This man evolved through years of style trial and error to find his rightful place in the world.
Cricketer Wasim Akram in a Nabila shoot in 2014
I define the desi gentleman as the “culturally rooted – globally adaptive”. He is the man who is confident about his ethnicity, blends in with his environment, while his individuality alive and kicking. You have seen him. Met him. He lives amongst us. He is the man who gives his style to everything he wears. He can make a black Armani suit look great by throwing in an ethnic printed rilli pocket square or a desi paisley inspired cuff link. He doesn’t scream for your attention but he attracts it. He is what you want your nearest man to be. He is the quintessential ‘desiGENT’ remember the term. Some features you will see in him.
Mr. Amitabh Bachan and Leonardo DiCaprio at the Cannes Award 2013
Classic on the outside. Whether it’s a pair of denim he’s wearing with a tee or a navy wool suit. This man gets his fits right but what sets him apart are his unique accents to everything. His ethnic pocket squares made out of some hand woven material in some obscure place of the world. His carved cuff links again seemingly hand made. He has a ethnic Chappal or a Khussa that he can carry well with his jeans or with his kurtas.
Fawad Khan at the sets of Khoobsorat
Having defined who the desi Gentleman is, I will be covering topics around the latest Fashion and Lifestyle (and a bit of beauty) of the desi Men’s world. Here are a few shots of my contributions to the evolution that is desiGENT.
Let me know if you have any questions or comment below.
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