Three years and counting—the Modi jacket continues to be as popular as it was the day after the Prime Minister was first seen sporting it.
Initially thought by some to be a whimsical fashion fad, the Prime Minister’s staple public appearance apparel is now even replacing the corporate blazer.
‘Modi jackets’ is even a prominent category in the men’s clothing section of several major brands today: they continue doing brisk business with each passing day.
Bipin Chauhan who runs Jade Blue is the man who stitches Modi’s clothes himself. Each of Chauhan’s 22 Jade Blue stores has a collection named ‘Modi kurtas and jackets’. The section is undoubtedly the one with the hottest selling items at the stores.
Chauhan says there has been a 100 percent increase in demand for the category, compared to before the bandhgala jacket became a phenomenon.
“Customers have abandoned blazers,” Chauhan claims. “Only about 20 percent wear them anymore. The rest has shifted to Modi jackets. Customers are experimenting with them for everything from casual wear to office wear to even partywear.”
While most of Chauhan’s clients happily choose their Modi jackets from the dedicated collection, the especially devoted even have special requests. They ask for Modi jackets in the same colour or pattern the prime minister wore to a certain event.
Chauhan’s Jade Blue, which also retails other apparels, sells around 50 jackets a month.
Some new brands sell only these jackets! NaMo by Katha is one such brand that has an exclusive retail chain of only Modi jackets.
The Mumbai-based Katha’s first NaMo store is situated right in the heart of Kolkata’s airport.
“We started with a small NaMo collection in the ‘shop in shop’ format at Katha stores but with the kind of response we got we made a brand out it and have sold 70-odd jackets in one and half months of launching,” said Deepika Lalwani, owner at Katha.
While Deepika’s brand NaMo is planning to expand in airports across all Tier I and Tier II cities, she already has a list of loyal clientele that includes some names from Bollywood as well.
Selling between Rs 2000 and Rs 5000, the jackets are made of indigenous fibre be it silk, cotton and linen.
Brands like Manyavar, Fabindia and others too stock Modi jackets but it is the designers who have taken them to the next level, innovating with patterns, fabrics and prints.
Working with rich fabrics like silk to detail stitch works like katha (not to be confused with the store), designer Abhishek Dutta gets close to 500 such jackets made every month for his personal label as well as some projects for West Bengal state government.