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How to celebrate couture, craft and history in menswear

In an interview with Lounge, designer Monica Shah of label Jade speaks about entering the menswear space and rooting for cruelty-free products

From Jade by Monica and Karishma's menswear collection, Ananta

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Known for intricate ek taar and kasab embroideries, Jade by Monica and Karishma is now entering the menswear space with their new collection titled, Ananta

Staying true to their atelier's core values and design philosophy of reigniting the country’s craft techniques, this menswear outing features sharply tailored bandi jackets and knee-length ceremonial coats that have a deep dialogue with the textured and jewel-toned kurtas underneath. 

We spoke with the label's designer Monica Shah about the launch of menswear line and vegan accessories, and future plans. Edited excerpts:

Also Read: India Couture Week has reminded us menswear can be fun too

What inspired you to enter menswear?

We’ve always been passionate about helping people tell their stories and celebrate their heritage through couture, regardless of gender. After catering to women across the globe, it only felt natural to expand into menswear and create timeless handcrafted ensembles for the modern man.

Who's the Jade man?

The Jade man is discerning and sophisticated, yet has an eclectic edge. He sees his ensembles as a means of self-expression and isn’t shy of experimenting or reconnecting with his roots. The Jade man is unique, timeless and just playful enough.

Can we expect your signature ‘kasab’ and ‘ek taar’ embroideries in ‘Ananta’ too?

Yes, absolutely! The hallmark of Ananta is the metallic look and our signature intricate detailing, both of which are realised beautifully through kasab and ek taar. These are also our signature techniques, which are always in high demand.

Ceremonial bespoke for men in India is confined to sherwanis and bandis. Can we expect new silhouettes for men from Jade?

We’re always experimenting and redefining what traditional wear means for both men and women. While our existing collection offers sherwanis and bandis, we have experimented with colour palettes and detailing that will resonate effortlessly with the grooms of today.

When women designers design for men, it's always a unique vibe as opposed to men designing for men. What's your take?

I think it mainly depends on the designer’s vision and the story they want to tell through their creations. For us, it’s all about celebrating our culture, crafts and heritage through couture. And we believe this is what makes every designer’s vibe different.

You recently launched accessories for men too. What was the thought process behind crafting totes and clutches for men?

Putting a unique ensemble together for a special day is such a joyous experience. Our brides have been enjoying this for years now. We figured it was only fair that men got in on the fun too. Style and self-expression are not gendered as such. We want everyone to experience the delight and fulfillment of being able to tell their stories through their ensembles.

You've always practiced cruelty-free production. Do you think veganism is the future of luxury?

As sustainability becomes more and more the need of the hour, we definitely think veganism is the right direction for luxury brands to head in.

Also Read: Kunal Rawal's menswear is all about luxe minimalism

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