3. Jawaharlal Nehru guided India to independence while looking so cool even the Beatles copied his trademark look
From 1947 all the way through to 1964, Jawaharlal Nehru served as the first Prime Minister of India. He’s credited with playing a key role in establishing India as an independent, and prosperous, country. Indeed, his political accomplishments are well known. But what of his contribution to fashion? This really cannot be underestimated. Indeed, even today, political leaders, as well as celebrities including music and movie stars, routinely wear a so-called ‘Nehru jacket’ in order to look at once formal and also effortlessly cool.
Given India’s close links with Great Britain, Nehru was regularly featured in the British media. On many occasions he was pictured wearing a traditional knee-length jacket known as an ‘achkan’. Cashing in on the public interest, English tailors decided to make a version of their own. Though marketed as a ‘Nehru jacket’, this garment was actually quite a bit shorter than the type which the Indian leader wore, but nobody cared. It was a real hit, with the Beatles wearing them, and then the ‘Mod’ movement in England also embracing the style.
The jacket even crossed the Atlantic. Indeed, Johnny Carson and Sammy Davis Jr. were both pictured wearing Nehru jackets, bringing the style to a massive new audience keen to embrace the latest foreign trends. The style also hit the big screen: in several James Bond movies, villains are shown wearing chic Nehru jackets. These days, however, the style only really remains popular among vintage fashion enthusiasts, though several modern-day Indian politicians still follow the fashion lead set down by their famous former leader.