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.

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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.

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 brand

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.”

Fac­ing page: Surbhi Pansari pos­ing with one of her cre­ations Above: A stylish jacket, paired with a kurta from Surbhi Pansari Right: An ap­peal­ing set with con­tem­po­rary cut and de­sign

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