The Right Cut
Meet Surbhi Pansari, the talented fashion designer, who has redefined menswear by bridging the existing gap between innovative designs and perfect tailoring, acquainting fashionable men with the real meaning of sartorial flair in the process.
Text: Benaifer J Mirza
When one thinks of the fashion industry, it invariably tends to be associated with designers and their beautiful cuts and creations for women. Surbhi Pansari, however, decided to tread the not-so-frequently travelled road of exclusive menswear. Characterised by her individual style, classic craftsmanship and fit, use of ultra-luxe fabrics and vibrant colours and blending of ethnic colours, cuts and silhouettes with Western influences, Pansari’s designs are classy, contemporary and indeed pretty cool.
The first stitch
Pansari’s childhood was characterised by happy times, full of fun, laughter and creativity. While she attributes her creative genes to her father, she can’t thank her mother enough for instilling in her the traditions and culture of the Pansari clan, which hails from Fathepur, Rajasthan. Recalling the first stirrings of creativity in her at the Maharani Gayatri Devi, Jaipur (MGD, Jaipur) boarding school, where she studied, she notes, “My school gave me wonderful opportunities to imbibe and nurture this seed of creativity.” And, well, that was just the beginning!
After school, a degree in science followed, and then, interestingly, life took a sharp turn towards a career in fashion designing. Reminiscing about the journey, Pansari says, “I was attracted to colours, cuts and silhouettes during my college days. So, I decided to enrol at NIFD, Kolkata. After acquiring my degree in fashion designing from NIFD, Kolkata, like most others, I was egged on to launch my own label. But I thought otherwise and wanted to wait for the right time to do so. Nothing can be better than learning while being on the field. My family owns a franchise of Raymond; so I spent two years at this family business, creating customised designs. My design aesthetics were very well-received over there. Once I felt it was the right time to take the plunge, I launched my label—in 2015.”
The talented designer has participated in Kolkata Fashion Week and Kolkata Design Week since then and has received immense appreciation for her inimitable designs and collections. Pansari has also judged and encouraged several young designers from various schools and colleges in Kolkata.
But the big question that arises is—why menswear? Pansari explains: “After completing my fashion design course, I came across a lot of people opting to design women’s clothing. When I forayed into this industry, I found a huge gap in menswear, in terms of designs, colour palette, cuts and silhouettes. So, I took up the challenge of doing something different in menswear. Men can now experiment with a lot of prints and cuts to look dapper.”
The essence of Pansari’s designs is ‘a traditional twist, which is finely balanced with global sensibilities’. And that is what sets the ‘Surbhi Pansari’ brand apart. She tells us more: “Our collection perfectly blends innovation in fashion with hand-embroidered Nehru jackets, kurtas and bandhgalas. These garments don’t only give out an elegant feel, but are also conventional, handcrafted and contemporary at the same time. Asymmetrical cuts and off-cantered jackets are the top trends in our collection. I also keep the style quotient right, adding my personal touch to the silhouettes.”
Pansari’s latest line, aptly called ‘The Resplendent Ensemble’, is class personified. Elaborating on the collection, she says, “The Resplendent Ensemble displays beautiful ensembles with kantha, kashida and aari work, and other traditional embroideries of India. The eclectic mix of creativity and art reinforces the individual vision, innovation and style of fashionable men of today. The traditional embroidery adds texture, richness and dimension to each piece and an asymmetrical cut gives the right balance to the ensemble. The collection includes Jodhpuri coats, blazers, bandhgalas, waistcoats, Nehru jackets and kurtas. And rich hues of crimson red, royal blue and marmalade, with surface ornamentation in antique gold, add a royal touch to the collection.”
Marrying classic cuts with modern designs is a challenge in itself, but Pansari does is seamlessly. Asked about fashion tips, the designer cues us in on the latest trends: “Indian ethnic wear for men is evolving at a rapid pace. A combination of Western cuts and Indian aesthetics sit at the top of trends. One can opt for Afghani pants, palazzos, Patiala pants, or slim fit trousers. And bandhgalas in bright hues, such as Montana blue, marmalade, ochre yellow and olive green are pretty much the tone of this season.” Also, it’s a great idea to mix and match different shades, keeping in mind one’s aesthetic appeal and individuality, she says.
Pansari’s creations have adorned a number of celebrities at various red carpet events. Among them are well-known Tollywood actors Prosenjit Chatterjee (at the Filmfare Awards, East) and Jeet; small screen heartthrob, Karan Wahi (at Indian Idol contest); Ravi Awana, winner of Gladrags Manhunt and Megamodel Contest, 2013-14; and Manav Kaul, at the party held to celebrate the success of his film, Tumhari Sullu.
The road ahead
As of now, Pansari has no plans to design for women. She finds menswear full of innovation and challenge and feels that there is enough and more to do in this area of clothing itself.
When asked about her future plans, she keeps it simple: “Giving flawless tailoring in menswear, and offering the best service to clients, is what I look forward to for the brand.”