The gangsters in Deepa Mehta’s Beeba Boys have nothing on these 5 Indo-Canadian fashion savvy professionals from across the GTA.
Indo-Canadian film director and screenwriter Deepa Mehta’s latest movie Beeba Boys,which opened Friday in theatres, features a lethal gang Indo-Canadian gangsters in Vancouver with style to spare. These peacocks strut “their stuff in bespoke suits, wanting to be seen and feared in a white world,” the director says. Bespoke suits, and accessories such as funky pocket squares, aren’t just the prerogative the gangsters. This is a case of art mirroring life with Mehta drawing inspiration from UK-based street style blog Singh Street Style, as well as the film’s star, designer/actor Waris Ahluwalia.
A new generation of shape dressed South Asian men is slaying it on the style front. You see them resplendent in an azure blue kurta-pyjama (long tunic and pants) whether in a Mississauga theatre or looking sharp in a tailored suit on Bay Street. Here, five South Asian from the GTA, who regularly make in style lists, talk about the art of dressing well.
Kish Raveendran, 28, Fashion Blogger/Stylist, Toronto
Parambir Keila, 34, Physician, Toronto
There are few things today that can be moulded by society and cultural trends, yet can be interpreted by individual whimsies. For me, cultural influences and a creative exploration of colour, symmetry or silhouettes — all those come together for a look I am feeling congruent with. My grandfather was a military man, and he always dressed well prior to leaving the house, down to the way he tied his turban. He taught me the importance of projecting well in society, that your clothes create a first impression, no matter how or what you say. When someone makes a quick decision about you, whether you are someone to pay attention to or somebody to get the brunt of their anger, it has always been my goal to mitigate that as much as possible. Clothing can also be used to project a sense of competency, to show that I am well groomed, and I’m interested in creative ideas. My style is in constant evolution. The first purchase I made after getting a paper route job was a pair of Adidas Gazelles. Since then I’ve gone from streetwear to fashion back to streetwear to menswear. For me, it’s about being comfortable in your skin. When I was in high school and wore skinny jeans, my friends made fun of me. So I stopped wearing them. Now, I don’t care what others have to say.
Jasmeet Singh a.k.a. Jus Reign, 25, YouTube celebrity, Brampton
I would define my sense of the style as class plus a splash of sass and craziness. Who else would wear a shirt with giraffes on it, a Superman pocket square — although it’s not really a square, it’s a round. It seems like a goofball idea. I can truly say that the guy who helped me get shaped up was Jagmeet Singh. He told me that I can’t dress like I’m in the 4th grade anymore, that I have to step it up a little. I always like how he looked, how he rocked the turban with blazers and buttoned up shirts. Otherwise, I like urban, streetwear. My style has evolved over the years, especially after YouTube when all eyes are on me. I like to express myself and look cool doing it. When I was younger, my Dad would take me Moores or Sears. I got a $30 suit for prom although I wanted something really nice. But it would have been wasting money, and that pinstripe suit from Moores was cost effective. Also, I didn’t think style was a brown thing. I didn’t think we were on the level of white people in Armani ads. But now, as you can see, we can do it as well.
Jagmeet Singh, 36, MPP (NDP), Brampton
I think of my style as a social armour. When you go into battle, you used to have a steel armour and a shield to protect you from the blows of battle. For me, those blows came as a racialized person. So my way to insulate myself was through clothing. If you dress well, you look like a guy who is influential. There’s an inner confidence about you. You can also create a conversation around what you wear, and then you look at me in another light. There are always these stereotypes of a man in a turban and beard. I started wearing a bright pink turban or a turquoise or Tiffany blue colour thinking it would disarm people. (South Asian) culture is so expressive, there’s colour everywhere. Then with a Sikh identity, you can’t hide in a crowd. You are supposed to stand out, and work toward justice. I also try to be bold in my look.
Arshad Khan, 40, Filmmaker/Festival Director MISAFF, Mississauga, Montreal