INDIA ABROAD January 20, 2017 35 LIFESTYLE
By Valeriya Safronova
ounging on a cerulean
leather chair at his store
in Manhattan, a glass of
old Scotch in hand, Vivek
“There’s Banker A, who goes
to Harvard, Goldman and buys a
Lamborghini,” said Nagrani, 44.
That’s not his usual customer.
“Or there’s the guy who went
to community college (his parents had no money),” he said,
“but he loved finance and made
his way to the top. Our client
tends to be that guy. Top of the
industry, but he had to earn it.”
And that guy, Nagrani said,
doesn’t like to go with the crowd,
even when it comes to his
That’s why, since starting his
first full collection in 2013,
Nagrani has offered limited editions, with each item numbered
on an inside tag. The pieces are
made in factories and workshops
in Italy or Peru. Suits start at
$1,800, and the shirts range from
$350 to $695.
Nagrani entered the business
in 1999, when he formed a partnership with a French factory in
an attempt to make the ultimate
His plan worked: Esquire
declared his product “the best
dress socks in the world,” and his
clients include Bill Clinton and
George W. Bush.
Nagrani, born in Pune, India,
and raised in Northern and
Southern California, sold what he
called “junk toys” before his
foray into socks. He built the
business from there.
His store, VK Nagrani on East
Houston Street, is hard to find,
its entrance obscured by graffitied glass Most clients come by
appointment. The first room is
small, with a rack of clothes on
one wall, a cash register and a
vending machine filled with
A set of stairs leads to a larger
space, with flowers, fake palm
trees, colorful art, rotary-dial
telephones, a framed vintage
Playboy Club membership card
and a fully stocked bar.
Right outside the larger space
is a narrow putting green and a
life-size painting of Superman
and Batman embracing each
Toward the back of the store is
yet another room, set up as a
closet, complete with a settee
and a mounted deer head. Whose
closet? In Nagrani’s imagination,
it’s Bruce Wayne’s.
If you’re Bruce Wayne, and
you’re out all night kicking peo-
ple’s butts, he said: "You don’t
want to think about what you’re
going to wear the next morning.
But you still have to look like
Bruce Wayne. So everything is
interchangeable. Each piece
should layer and function six
Which is why Nagrani offers
classic lines, luxurious fabrics
and subtle details, like a shirt
sleeve lined with suede or a jack-
et constructed with Alcantara, a
durable fabric developed in
Japan for car upholstery.
Perhaps the reason he is so
familiar with his customer’s
desires is that he’s really design-ing for himself.
“Being in this industry and
having friends at different
brands, I had my choice of every-
thing before,” Nagrani said. “But
it wasn’t cohesive and it didn’t
feel the way I wanted it to. That’s
why I started making clothes.
They’re not designed for every-
— The New York Times
The Man Who
Pune-born Vivek Nagrani’s Men’s Wear Shop
is not for everyone
RIght, Vivek Nagrani
in his store in the
Bowery, VK Nagrani.
with its graffitied
Below, Jim Meeks,
left, gets input from
Nagrani while trying
on a scarf.
Andrew White for The New York Times