While several established womenswear designers like Manish Malhotra, Tarun Tahilani and Varun Bahl, who have dressed the best of Bollywood divas over the years, have started to explore the men’s line, what has caught everyone’s fancy at recent fashion weeks is the return of the scruffy and outdoorsy look of men on the ramp. Far from the manicured and clean-shaven metrosexual, the contemporary male model in India is instead the well-styled lumberjack, who prefers to flaunt a beard and be in touch with his rugged masculinity.
Not just on the ramp, this breed — called lumbersexuals, defined by their facial hair — is the flavour of the season. From colleges to corporate houses and fund-raising events to theatres, lumbersexuals can be found everywhere. They are impeccably groomed yet have an unkempt side to them.
They have beards, checked shirts and are more hipster than the dapper fellows we’ve seen in the last decade. Models believe that apart from staying in vogue with global trends, the bearded look also ensures they have an edge on the ramp, as well as when they go for auditions. Model Shaaz Rehan Khan, says, “A lumbersexual look has always been a favourite on international magazine spreads and platforms. Now, even our designers vouch for the outdoorsy look not just for its global appeal but also because it complements both Indian and western ensembles. It also makes you stand out at auditions.”
While our B’town heartthrobs like Ranveer Singh and Arjun Kapoor have been reflecting the lumbersexual look on screen with panache, the regular urban Indian male isn’t far behind either. Stylist Nithin Rao says, “With men’s fashion market booming, there is increasing awareness among men about their appearance and they are now more open to experimenting with changing trends. Typically, the lumbersexual style of appearance is more geared towards functionality and the rugged form which is what men prefer historically, and this is why it’s becoming popular and coming into the mainstream.” But it isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. “Not everyone would be able to carry off this laidback lumbersexual style as it suits only a certain body type. Men with a slightly bigger frame and sharp features slip into the look and sport it with élan,” adds Nithin.
While your body frame may be the most important factor to sport the lumbersexual look, styling is instrumental, say designers. Popular designer Sreejith Jeevan explains, “Even though some men might be taking the trend to a rather rugged extreme (like a typical lumberjack), the more sophisticated version of this seems very fashionable. Go well fitted with the plaids and avoid a sloppy fit. Get the beard trimmed right to suit your face shape and body type so that the result has a lot more finesse. Of course layering is the key. Keeping the staples of this trend the same but playing it to your taste with your individuality in tact, makes it a more unique interpretation of the trend.”