Narendra Modi, Rahul Gandhi make strong fashion statements

Kolkata: Amid the poll potpourri, the fashion quotient of political leaders like Narendra Modi and Rahul Gandhi has also caught the attention of people, particularly youth, say designers here.

According to designer Abhishek Dutta, BJP prime ministerial candidate Modi`s trademark cotton and raw-silk half-sleeve kurtas in pastel hues along with cream churidars are favourites among both youth and middle-aged people.

"Modi`s trademark dress is a huge hit," he said, adding that Rahul`s white kurta, white pyjama or blue denims along with sneakers too have attracted youths.

Another designer, Sayantan Sarkar, said Modi`s dressing style relates to a sense of power -- crisp and clean, yet traditionally Indian, while Rahul`s style invokes youth energy.

"Right now, kurta pyjama along with linen half-sleeve Nehru coats are in a huge demand among men," he said. Sarkar rates Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah as the third most popular among youths in terms of fashion.

"His sharply tailored suits show his love for fine dressing. Whether it`s well-fitted suits or kurta-pyjamas, Omar Abdullah is one of the most stylish politicians representing young India. There are people who have placed demands for well-fitted suits, like those used by Omar," he said.

Sarkar also pointed out that given the tropical, hot climate of the country, linen kurtas and pyjamas are also selling like hot cakes among political activists who are regular at political meetings.

Sharbari Dutta, who designs only for youths, feels that politicians need to dress the way their target audience wants them to.
"Rahul Gandhi comes from a very renowned family in the country. But when he goes to an adivasi family or village, he has to dress like a common man to reach out to the masses," Dutta said.

According to the designers, women like Priyanka Gandhi, Sonia Gandhi, Jayalalitha and Mamata Banerjee also have their personal style statements.

"Priyanka Gandhi`s sense of dressing is a craze among young girls," said Dutta. Sonia Gandhi is generally seen wearing cotton saris during political rallies.

Dutta said that whereas Sonia and Priyanka`s dressing sense invokes elegance, Mamata`s `tant` cotton saris with plain, thin blue borders and hawai sandals go with her image of representing the common man which she tries to portray in Bengal.

Apart from the craze over the dressing of their favourite leaders, people have also shown interest in saris printed with party symbols.
Designer duo Mona-Pali, sensing the mood for the demand, arranged a fashion show recently where models showcased various designer saris printed with symbols of various parties, including Congress, BJP, TMC and AAP.

"The saris printed with party symbols had a huge response both from viewers and customers," Pali said. Various sari shops in Kolkata have been flooded with orders to get saris printed with symbols of political parties.

"We have been receiving huge orders of party symbol printed kurtas and saris. Most of these orders come from supporters of different political parties who generally wear these garments while attending rallies of politicians or on poll day," said Nishikanta Behura, a garment store owner here.

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