Nagaland, and in general the Northeast region of India, is known for having one of the trendiest and most fashionable streets in the country. Any style, fad or trend that is seen on TV or SNS (read: social networking site) is, in no time seen sported by uber stylish folks in this part of India.When it comes to men’s fashion though, it’s a little bit of a different story as many feel it is hard to find pieces in the market that are as affordable as women’s clothes.
Meet Karan Chetri from Nagaland, a fashionable game-changer who is sharing his secrets to nailing the formal look for men without breaking the bank. A thrift shopper and a non-believer in fast fashion brands, this well-dressed man shows us how to save money and build a wardrobe that looks expensive and classic for the value shopper. With the wedding and holiday season around the corner, all guys take note! [Video at the bottom]
R&L chats with the stylish Karan from Kohima, Nagaland (his roots is in Nepal) as he talks about his love for fashion, his shopping rendezvous across thrift stores in Nagaland, and spills the beans to nail the formal look for men without going broke.
Hi Karan! We are happy to have you with us! Tell us a little about yourself.
My name is Karan Chetri and I’m from Kohima. I completed my graduation and post graduation from Shillong and am currently pursuing my B.Ed. I am a full-time thrift snob and run the page “The Thrift Ensemble” on Instagram with my friend Rajat Limbu. We give styling tips and tricks on how to look good in a suit when you don’t have money to spend lavishly. We truly believe that any guy can look dapper without having to break the bank. It all started from being curious about how men can wear formal shoes with denim and look totally stylish. I searched for a lot of ideas online on how to dress up and found a lot of things about menswear and styling.
“I got all hyped up with the little knowledge that I got on the internet and went ahead to buy my first suit. But sadly, my first purchase was a total disappointment. I realized that most of the suits available in the market here were not finished well and hence doesn’t do justice to the fine formal look we aspire to achieve when wearing a suit. It also struck my mind that to buy a good and well-fitting suit, I need a big fat bank account or be born super rich. My sister then took me to my first thrift shop, or as we call it in Nagaland “2nd hand dukan” and everything changed after that day for me :)”
Karan Chetri beats the Kohima cold in his thrifted Trenchcoat.
That’s how “The Thrift Ensemble” was born – with an intention to share tips on how to get a good quality suit at a great price. It’s not so hard if you know what to look for and I wanted to educate men on that.I am also a non-believer of fast fashion – it just makes me feel bad about how much waste this fashion industry is producing. It is one of the highest waste generating industries and I also wanted to spread awareness on that fact.
Karan wearing a thrifted tie and coat.
How did your roots influence your fashion choices?
Growing up I used to look up to hip-hop artists like Nelly and 50 Cent so I would dress up wearing extra-large T-shirts and baggy pants. But as I grew older, my style evolved. I now look up to people like Shuhei Nishiguchi, Ethandesu, Jobrien, Article of Style and Tomoyoshi Takada for inspiration as their style defines classic menswear. Also, people around me have always inspired me to dress well and I feel the need to give that back. This is so that even when I do wear something out of the ordinary they would be inspired to dress well too.
How easy or hard is it to shop for suits, formal wear and menswear in general in Nagaland?
It’s not easy shopping for suits in Nagaland. If you see the quality of suits that we get in the markets, it is really very poor. The suits are mostly made from polyester or artificial fabrics which don’t look good at all. It looks shiny and if you do get a cotton or wool suit the construction is fused canvas which means they use glue at the chest area which makes the suit stiff and very uncomfortable.
“I mainly shop at thrift stores because the suits out there are built with free-floating canvas construction, that is, the layer in between the chest and the lining is free floating so it’s very comfortable. These little touches often cost a fortune if you have a tailor to do it. Honestly, these days I buy everything from the thrift shop.”
Karan wearing thrifted brick red blazer with a printed tie.
Karan looking dapper in a thrifted Shepherd’s Check Blazer with a printed tie and denim
What are your favorite thrift stores in Nagaland?
I usually go thrift shopping at Sekho Market and BOC Second Hand Store in Kohima. On weekends, I usually go to the Sunday market in BOC to shop for outfits.
What is your take on the men’s fashion scene in Nagaland?
I still feel that the fashion scene is still not really to my taste. That’s because following current and fast trends is not something I believe in. I feel that men usually dress like the guy sitting or standing next to him and there is usually no originality or unique style whatsoever. But to name some few who are really keeping it original @ben_wati, @suneb_jr. @abotozhimomo – check em out!
What are the top fashion brands you love to get your hands?
My top brands would be Burberry, Red Wing Shoes, Berluti, Vans, Ralph Lauren, Brooks Brothers and Brune to name a few. I also love anything that has a military grade stamp on it 😀
Karan enjoying an evening at the Heritage Kohima, looking fine in his shepherd’s check blazer paired and printed tie combo – dressed over a plain white shirt
Karan rocking his tee and tailored pant look, accessorizing with a hat and a chic pair of glasses
Follow Karan on Instagram to keep yourself updated on Men’s formal wear – and to get tips on where to source these treasures from the local markets in Nagaland. Watch video below to get a glimpse of Karan in his (fine) element 🙂
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