Women On Top
Meet Sarah Gonsalves, The Woman Who’s Teaching Men To ‘Suit Up’!
She’s a woman in a man’s world, and most certainly by choice. Meet Sarah Gonsalves, the co-founder of SS HOMME, a Mumbai-based bespoke menswear label that caters to the discerning dresser.
Sarah started off her career as a fashion stylist with GQ, but always had a penchant for designing. When the time was right, Sarah ventured out of her comfort zone, and set up her very own menswear brand, SS HOMME, along with her husband, Sandeep Gonsalves.
But why menswear?
Well, I have never really been as interested in women’s wear. Designing for men intrigues me and challenges me. Besides, contrary to popular belief, all the money isn’t in women’s fashion. We have had an enormous amount of success designing for menswear. I think if you’re good at what you do, money will come.
What are your biggest challenges as a woman designing for men?
Men are generally sure about what they want. So, it’s a challenge to mould their style. But once convinced, they will be loyal and true to their look, unlike women, who want to change their style with every passing trend.
Do you see men spending as much on grooming as women now? Who would you say is more vain?
Yes, definitely. There is a new market dedicated to men’s grooming products now. I think with the amount of competition nowadays, men are understanding the need to stand out. As far as vanity is concerned, I don’t think that one gender is more vain than the other. It varies from person to person.
The wedding market is a big draw for designers. How do you find men behaving when it comes to wedding shopping?
Men react to wedding shopping differently than women. However, their level of excitement is palpable. They care about what they look like, yet they tend to not fuss. And yes, the wedding clientele contribute to the business in a massive way, so we make sure that they get exactly what they are looking for.
Who would you say your target market is?
The wedding wear market is probably the most efficient for us. Another big one is corporates. Our wedding and corporate clients contribute to year-round business.
Are men easier customers? You know, less particular?
Oh, yes! For sure. Men are less particular in comparison. That being said, men have certain prerequisites that the brand must take care of in order to make the them happy and retain them for future business. That comes with experience and there is no alternative to that. Men are less likely to stop to look at a product in the shop window, and decide in that instance that they HAVE TO buy it.
What’s the one fashion trend you want to be left behind in 2017?
Unfortunately, men still aren’t very open to the world of colours. 2018 will be carrying forward the light / nude colours in wedding wear, which I wish we could have left behind in 2017.
As a woman designing for men, do you ever face subtle sexism?
As the designer and business owner, I haven’t witnessed much sexism. Certain people will be sexist no matter what, but the majority of men are essentially appreciative of the designs and thankful for the service.
What’s your idea of feminism in the context of what you do?
Whether you’re a man or woman, passion is a prerequisite for success in the suit-making business. At SS HOMME, the production and fittings are handled by a bunch of talented women. Need I say more?
What are the trends you see becoming big in 2018?
More Indo-fusion silhouettes for grooms. We’ll also see more men opting for vibrant colours, and experimenting with geometric prints and embroidery.
Where do you see SS HOMME going in 2018?
We have a big year planned ahead for us. There are a few major announcements coming this year that are going to be fantastic for the brand. We are looking at diversifying the product range and intensifying the design when it comes to wedding wear.
1. A 5-minute work look for men: Crisp shirt, a perfectly creased trouser & leather moccasins
2. One man you really want to dress: Roger Federer
3. One man whose fashion sense needs a makeover: Justin Trudeau
4. Ranveer Singh’s fashion – quirky or OTT?: Quirky if once a while, OTT if everyday.
5. A man you’d swap your wardrobe with: Tom Ford, hands down!
6. An essential grooming skill for a man: Shaving
7. Shaven or unshaven? Your preference: Shaven
8. Your favourite well-dressed celeb: Victoria Beckham