As the new face of Sapphire Man, Adnan Malik is pointing out that the menswear market could use more than the traditional kurta - Photograph by Nadir Firoz Khan and stylish by Maha Burney
As the new face of Sapphire Man, Adnan Malik is pointing out that the menswear market could use more than the traditional kurta - Photograph by Nadir Firoz Khan and stylish by Maha Burney

The realm of menswear has long been strewn with blingy sherwanis and generic kurtas. It’s what the market wants, after all.

In comes Adnan Malik, traversing the African terrain in safari mode. He’s wearing cargo pants, cotton bush shirts, swanky safari suits and cocks a hat on his head every now and then. As the new face of Sapphire Man, he’s pointing out that perhaps the menswear market could want so much more, should it be available.

This is precisely what Sapphire is planning to do.

Although most labels do manufacture a smattering of menswear, it hardly ever gets highlighted. Womenswear invariably remains the focal point while sartorial design for men gets relegated to just the kurta, staid business shirts or heavily embroidered sherwanis. Now, Sapphire’s hoping to up the ante.

“I think menswear does get ignored quite often and this is why we are planning to make it a mainstream part of Sapphire,” says the brand’s Creative Director, Khadijah Shah. “We’ll be putting out six different collections every year and have taken on board a team of menswear designers.”

Sapphire's menswear line will go beyond the traditional kurta; safari suits, pants, shirts and even a jumpsuit in a safari-inspired color palette form the latest collection - Photographs by Nadir Firoz Khan and styled by Khadijah Shah
Sapphire's menswear line will go beyond the traditional kurta; safari suits, pants, shirts and even a jumpsuit in a safari-inspired color palette form the latest collection - Photographs by Nadir Firoz Khan and styled by Khadijah Shah

As in the case of womenswear, Khadijah will have the final say in men’s designs. As a designer who has always created apparel for women, was it difficult to cater to men? “Not really,” she says. “It is, of course, a learning curve but I think my aesthetic translates well to menswear.”

From its onset less than two years ago, Sapphire has always featured capsule lines for men; traditional kurtas with a few tweaks here and there and snazzy seasonal waistcoats. Now, though, there will be much more.

Adnan Malik's been chosen as the face of Sapphire Man because he's "a sharp dresser but also very creative and multi-faceted" - Photographs by Nadir Firoz Khan and styled by Khadijah Shah
Adnan Malik's been chosen as the face of Sapphire Man because he's "a sharp dresser but also very creative and multi-faceted" - Photographs by Nadir Firoz Khan and styled by Khadijah Shah

“It’s all very modern and casual and prices will generally remain under Rs 10,000,” describes Khadijah. “The line that is currently going into stores is our capsule Safari collection and it includes safari suits, pants, shirts and even a male jumpsuit in a safari-inspired color palette. There’s also an Eastern range in the same accents.”

It’s certainly looking great in the shoot featuring Adnan Malik and now we finally know why he was visible in the BTS images from two months ago where the Sapphire team was spotted cruising through Africa, along with photographer Nadir Firoz Khan.

Khadija Shah and Adnan Malik at the Sapphire shoot in South Africa - Photographs by Nadir Firoz Khan
Khadija Shah and Adnan Malik at the Sapphire shoot in South Africa - Photographs by Nadir Firoz Khan

Adnan’s a dapper choice, of course, but what prompted the brand to veer away from the usual spate of male models?

“We wanted the line to be characterised by a personality,” explains Khadijah. “Adnan is a sharp dresser but he is also very creative and multi-faceted. He is a producer, a director and a well-loved actor. He has style but there’s also so much more to him.”

Placing focus on men is a clever – and long overdue – move and we’re hoping that it may make other brands sit up and take notice too. Sapphire has been something of a game changer in the high street for women and may just manage to do the same for men. There may be nothing wrong with a well-cut kurta but it does get a tad boring – and it can’t compare to a statement-making suit that makes you feel like you’re treading the jungle on safari!

The Safari capsule collection is in Sapphire stores 23rd September onwards.

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