Sunday, May 6, 2018

Poor Western Men

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Poor “western” men.  Their fashion used to be visually stimulating, but the arrival of the business suit in the last hundred plus years has greatly reduced the range of color, pattern and fabrics in their closets. Conventional menswear in western European and offshoot cultures is now very circumscribed. 

"Classic" men's suit by Burberry

No wonder the printed T-shirt has blazed such a wide swath.  It allows men to say something with color and graphic design.  I recently came across Indian designer Shravan Kummar Ramaswamy. What a fabulous array of sexy colorful menswear options!

Shravan Kummar is a big booster of India’s traditional weaving, natural fabrics and fine handwork, and he designs wonderful things to celebrate that tradition of craftsmanship. Many other runway designers of all backgrounds regularly show fashions that are well outside the box of conventional Western European menswear, but it seems to be only slowly expanding the edge of that box for many wearers.  The difference in the range of color and styles in a typical Target men’s department and its women’s department is remarkable.

In the United States, many African American male trendsetters have used color and pattern boldly.

Pharrell Williams 2015 CFDA Fashion Icon

And President Barack Obama skillfully introduced purple into the narrow red, white, blue and gray palette of the Washington, DC political establishment.

Likewise, thanks are due to so many members of the gay community for breaking down sartorial boundaries with joy and panache.

Pastor Rick Eisenlord who calls himself the “Gay Pastor of the San Gabriel Valle"

Hopefully as America continues to grow into its character as a diverse, global culture, more men will feel free to wear color and pattern more freely.  Certainly, climate change favors the adoption of the guayabera as work wear over the traditional Western suit jacket.  

That said, I love what Shravan Kummar  has done with the western jacket for wedding wear:

Speaking of wedding wear, what’s with the Western obsession with white for brides?  Doesn’t the Chinese red make much more sense?! Ciao, bellas/bellos.

From a monograph on the Chinese Wedding Dress on the Top China Travel website

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