In Focus Here a moustache, there a moustache, everywhere a macho moustache. Find the truth behind the moustache motif.

It’s Movember. No, grammar Nazis, we don’t have issues with our spellings. Movember is actually a month-long charity event to raise awareness of prostrate cancer. The movement has gained popularity across the world and a small population from India too has Mo Bros (Moustache Brothers) joining them to raise awareness. While men grow their moustaches in November in support of Movember, a survey by Hotels.com finds that Indians and Germans share the second spot for the best moustaches in the world.

Mexicans apparently have the best moustaches; so said 41 percent of the online votes. It’s not just men who love their facial hair, over the past couple of years the motif of a moustache has become popular with the ladies too! When you deconstruct this strange fashion trend that has taken the World Wide Web by storm, the motif is now identified with vintage and retro looks from the 60s. The popular Internet meme, ‘Feel like a sir’, also has a caricature with a curvy moustache, wine glass in hand, sporting a monocle.

There is no right way to put a pin on when this obsession for facial hair started, but our guess is that a popular Youtube video that came out two years ago showcasing a baby with a moustache on, garnered over 246364 views could have set the ball rolling. A lot has happened with the word and the motif since then. Patrick Waldo, a New York based street artist would write the word moustache using magic marker in cursive writing on subway Ads before he was finally caught. Zara, the clothing brand allegedly knocked off his design and put it on their T-shirts and even released a slipper with a curly moustache motif on the toe caps.

Remember the owl motifs that did the rounds in fashion circles last year? It’s not like the moustache motif wasn’t there at that time, just that it was well hidden and emerged over time. Surrealist Salvador Dali’s ‘pointy’ moustache has become a popular vector in T-shirt designs and logos. Walk into Forever 21 stores and you’ll find a whole range of accessories sporting the moustache, they even have a happy Snoopy sporting a long moustache. Look around and you’ll find a moustache on phone covers, stockings, skirts, tablecloths, cushion covers, lamp shades, phew! The list is rather endless - almost every craftsman online on Pinterest has the perfect DIY projects, just waiting to be taken up.

Designer Ruchika Sachdeva presented a moustache motif on a skirt at the Lakme Fashion Week, in May this year. The designer says that she put the print as an inspiration from the quintessential Indian Maharaja with the glorious moustache. “I realised that the moustache is everywhere. A lot of people have been coming up with the motifs on their designs.” But why this obsession with a motif of facial hair? “I guess it’s another cutesy fad and you know, its popularity is burgeoning with the whole Movember month. It’s a motif that will tire out soon enough, like any other fad!” says Ruchika.

Karishma Rajani, a fashion blogger doesn’t understand the fad either but says that the print is cute. “It’s not just a moustache, but any print on white would do for me.” Hyderabad based Hoozinc, an accessory brand, also has a moustache and glasses claiming to up your style quotient. Nikhil Kapur of Hoozinc however says that they had no idea about the popularity of the moustache.

“We wanted an integration of Groucho Marx with Nathulal and this item has remained rather popular. We are hoping to bring in a line of shot glasses and beer mugs with the design,” says Nikhil. Google ironic facial hair and you will find that it is grown by men with the intention of stating your non-conformist stand to a style that is hardly seen in modern society. The moustache is not supposed to be mainstream and the design effuses a ‘certain boho-chic’ look and it sets those who identify by the symbol apart from the rest of us like the hipsters.

Talk about irony because an increasing consumption of the design in fact makes it mainstream. If the moustache does nothing for you, then just get a good laugh out of it: “I moustache you a question, but I’ll shave it for later!”

Vishnupriya Bhandaram

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