‘Modi kurta’, now a label, goes overseas

published on September 22, 2013

AHMEDABAD: Kurta with half sleeves, buttoned up standing collar and fine net detailing on the shoulder seam. Or, a full-sleeved one with buttoned cuffs — both trademarks of Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi. The customary attire of BJP’s prime ministerial candidate — fashionably called the ‘Modi kurta’ — is already a registered label in India. The brand is now going overseas due to a huge demand coming from Gujarati pockets in the UK, the US and East Africa.
“We have trademark rights for ‘Modi kurta’ for retail in India,” says Bipin Chauhan, who co-owns the Rs 150-crore clothing chain, Jade Blue, along with brother Jitendra. The duo who have been dressing up Modi for two decades now, are taking this clothing brand overseas, labelled as ‘Modi kurta’ for the first time.

“We have been selling these kurtas for four years but these were not labelled as such,” he says. ‘Modi kurtas’ in 20 colours and 12 styles are being sold in through the company’s 18 outlets in Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh.

‘Modi kurtas’ are made in two fabrics — linen-polyester and linen-cotton. “Just like the Nehru jacket, Modi kurta has become a phenomenon,” says Chauhan who got the brand name cleared from the chief minister himself.

Obviously, the Chauhans know Modi well as their association with Modi dates back to 1990’s when the RSS pracharak preferred half-sleeved poly-khadi kurtas in white because they were easy to iron.

Over the years, Modi’s dress sense has evolved in keeping with the changing times. From poly-khadi, his wardrobe now includes kurtas in khadi silk, matka silk and linen. Modi’s favourite colours are white, off-white, light pink, saffron, pistachio and other earthy shades. “Crafting clothes for a PM would be my dream come true”, says Chauhan.

While Jade Blue has been manufacturing ‘Modi kurta’ for four years, all the kurtas will carry the label from this year. “Earlier, we refrained from stitching the label on the kurta’s collar as people with other poltitical leanings used to shy away from buying these kurtas. Now, each kurta will carry the label,” says Chauhan who counts Ahmed Patel, Sonia Gandhi’s political secretary, among his clients.

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