Nestled on East Houston Street, Vivek Nagrani has a showroom with a private setting. Your first glance of it immediately leaves you wanting to explore more.
From the vending machine filled with designer socks to the candy bar, anyone can feel like they’re in a fashion wonderland.
Nagrani’s F/W 2017 was an interaction presentation that took place in Manhattan’s Nolita and was an escape from the real world—a place I didn’t want to leave.
Designed by John Kole, every aspect of the set was specially intended to emulate Bruce Wayne’s world. V.K. Nagrani’s collection dressed a man everyone wanted to be and get to know. Vivek greeted guests and offered them some of his finest scotch and drinks. The glasses were imported and delicately designed for the presentation—no detail was left out from Wayne’s world. The waitresses wore tight velvet dresses. They painted the picture of the type of woman Wayne would be with be.
Nagrani walked me through each room, describing all the looks. “Men have an issue with getting dressed. They’re always afraid of fashion and style, and they don’t understand it. They seek fashion rather than style. What we’ve done is create a wardrobe that takes all the guess work out of it. So even if you’re blind and you put anything on, it all works together,” he shared. Each item paid attention to texture, neutral colors, and used interchangeable materials.
Nagrani’s collection is one that’s efficient, functional, and stylish with accessibility in mind. “We don’t sell belts like normal people. We sell you belts, and you choose the buckle. So you can wear a buckle with your jeans or you wear a certain buckle with your trouser.” This small detail would take the stress out of getting dressed, something that means a lot to V.K. Nagrani brand.
The tuxedos and suits are interchangeable. They’re designed intricately to be able to wear during a night out or to work.
The man who dresses in Nagrani’s clothes is someone whose mission is not only to be successful but to make a difference in the lives of others and to make an impact—like Bruce Wayne.
Nagrani hasn’t just created a clothing collection, he’s created a system. Noting that men often buy clothes with stale parts, he made sure to take time and stress out that men have trying to match an outfit. “We’ve created a performance engine,” Nagrani told me. “Where you again here reduce space in your closet, reduce clutter, reduce anxiety… if you spend 10 minutes a day getting dressed, that is 43 hours you’ve wasted in the course of a year. And for the guy who understands our clothing, 43 hours is a serious amount of time.”
What was even more impressive about the brand was learning about how the clothes were made. It was pleasing to learn that his clothes were all made in Italy, in sustainable family-friendly environments. Nagrani is someone who stresses that his workers should still go home at a decent hour and are able to spend time with family.
Nagrani’s collection maintained an incredibly sexy aesthetic throughout his entire collection. From the silk and cotton sweaters, his structured jackets all made from rich fabrics including leather and tweed, to his shirts made from the softest Egyptian cotton, his customer knows he wants to feel elegant wearing his clothes through it’s fabric touch, not just look it. Everything from the clothes to how they’re made is elevated.
His collection could dress any man and give them the confidence of being knowledgeable about fashion. The collection features body-fit suits and jackets made from the finest wool. His fine leather belts are available in different colors to be able to blend into any suit you’re wearing. With Nagrani’s style you are set as the center of attention anywhere you go.
The presentation was complete with 12 looks each representing their own version of Bruce Wayne.
The fashion presentation sold an idea and a lifestyle of Bruce Wayne to which his customers aspire to; they’re people who can do it all. The party was complete with a DJ and artists’ performances. Hors d’oeuvres included chicken and waffles with Mac & Cheese, to fit the fun and laid-back version of Bruce Wayne. Every piece that was shown stayed true to the elegance of V.K’s trademark.
PHOTO CREDIT: Alejandro Paz
Check out our interview with Vivek Nagrani below:
So you described that it was very important for you to have these items made in a sustainable environment. Can you describe more about that?
First and foremost, sustainability to me is also responsibility. So the way the factories work, the workshops, they have to responsible, fair-trade practices. The people that work in there have to feel like they’re doing something important, as opposed to just another product going off the shelf. They have to take pride, so we instill a lot of that. Leftover fabrications—we do a variety of things with that. We have to eliminate waste; elevate life projects where single mothers in Peru take the leftover fabrics and hand make dolls, and all the money goes to them. The other production sites…we’re taking all the leftover leather and stuff like that, instead of throwing them away; we are trying to build unique products with them, and that is more a social consciousness with that where we can donate the money for causes that help make those kind of things–things that do not require intense craftsmanship but can be done by just average people…but they can have a chance to make something and things don’t go to waste. Their reducing our carbon footprint, but at the same time it’s giving self-worth to these people, and to me this is very, very important in every aspect and the other things is we don’t mess with mediocre workshops. It is only top-notch workshops, people that are artisans, craftsmen, that are going things with themselves with a consciousness. So even with sustainability we are working with people of an elevated mindset and therein attracts that customer. The average person doesn’t walk in off the street. It is a very particular man. And sense the Bruce Wayne aspect, this man who is in life attempting to do more than just increase his bank balance. He’s actually affecting the world in a positive way, but with an incredible sense of modesty as well… which is what I think the greatest gift of this company is the type of people that wear our clothes.
Do you oversee the making of it, the factories?
Where in Italy are they made?
All in the north of Italy. So different workshops from Giacomo to Lake Garda to Biella to Brescia, I mean all different areas in the north of Italy. They have a very different approach in the south of Italy, so the north of Italy is much more, in the sense of Northern Europe–more defined. Not so Italian, it’s got more of a German kind of French influence to it, where it’s more straight, more reserved, if you see the people in the north of Italy versus the south, you see a much more reserved person in the north versus the south. So you’ll see more of that type of design there. Where here it’s more structured, very uniform in a way and it’s incredibly influenced by the military. Not for war but for the fact of efficiency and how things came about. Like how the trench coat came about. Why it arrived. It was a military thing because after the Crimean war, the English Soldier said the heavy gold jackets were too cumbersome. That’s when they invented the trench coat. So by World War 1, they had that the trench coat. So we’ve used elements of all of the military stuff like [pulls coat out] people wonder why is this here [points to the epaulettes] but when you’re in the trench and the rifle is here and it’s raining, this protects it from going into the jacket, because the butt of the gun is here. So everything, even for aviation, [pulls out another coat] this is called a type X, and it works like a jacket so it also helps minimize travel anxiety. You can take a very few amount of pieces, and just by simply mixing and matching them, you create different looks, with incredible simplicity. So everything is what you need. Another thing about sustainability, most men shop trying to search for something and their closets end up with a bunch of stale parts, where we’ve created a performance engine where you again here reduce space in your closet, reduce clutter, reduce anxiety, and if it takes more you than also if you spend 10 minutes a day getting dressed, that is 43 hours you’ve wasted in the course of a year. And for the guy who understands our clothing, 43 hours is a serious amount of time. You could do a lot with 43 hours. So theses are the thought processes that go into this type of clothing.
Can you just talk about how this collection was made for someone who doesn’t have the ability to see, because you use a lot of textures and you put a lot of thought into that.
So in the sense of…originally men have an issue with getting dressed. They’re always afraid of fashion and style, and they don’t understand. They seek fashion rather than style. What we’ve done is created a wardrobe that takes all the guess work out of it. So even if you’re blind you put anything on, it all works together. You can not go wrong. We’ve made it idiot proof so it just makes it very efficient, and even like, take for example, we don’t sell belts like normal people. We sell you belts, and you choose the buckle. So you can wear a buckle with your jeans or you wear a certain buckle with your trouser. Either which way, and again that Bruce Wayne element, a camouflage belt and what I like about this is it blends in (puts belts up against trousers)–
Right? So you can use your show without stressing about the color. We eliminate stress factors in every aspect of the way this guy dresses. You shouldn’t be stressed, but you should still look better than anybody else, that’s the intention.
And there’s an outfit for every type of occasion?
Everything! Even for example, black tie, right? How often does a guy use black tie maybe once, twice a year. So what we did is that if he uses it a lot he gets a classic navy. If he doesn’t use it a lot, we’ve given him a smoking jacket that goes in with the charcoal grey pant. So he can use a charcoal grey pant for other occasion, maybe go to work, and if he wants to dress up and go to a cocktail party he can dress this cocktail jacket and make it like a cool piece to wear to a party. You see again, sustainability, responsibility, and lack of waste.