Having heaps of money and gold doesn’t necessarily mean that you will have heaps of style and taste as can be demonstrated by the gold shirt made for an Indian businessman’s attempt to enhance his reputation and look good.
Datta Pughe who runs a finance company says it is only worn for special occasions along with other numerous gold accessories like huge chunky bracelets, rings and necklaces and if the picture is anything to go by looking like runner up in the Indian “Mr T” lookalike competition but without the Mohican. When he is not wearing his gold shirt, it’s safely locked away at his home and giving every bodies eyes a rest.
The Indian millionaire Datta Phuge, a 42-year-old businessman from Pune in western Maharashtra state, had the $235,000 shirt made from over 3kg of 22 carat gold to boost his reputation as the “Gold man of Pune”. It was created by Pune based Ranka jewellers and took 15 Goldsmiths over 15 days working 18 hours a day to create a shirt which almost looks like gold armour. It has 14,000 gold flowering interwoven with 100,000 spangles which are sewn onto the base of white finest velvet and finished off with six Swarovski crystal buttons.
Datta Pugh said “I have always had a passion for gold since a young age, I’ve always worn gold jewellery in the form of rings bracelets or chains but it got me thinking that there might be something we could do different with gold that no one had done before and this is where the idea of a gold shirt came from”.
This ostentatious fashion choice may look a bit out of place in a country where 40% of children under five are malnourished but Mr Pughe is unabashed and said “It is my property, it does not matter what other people think or say”.
The over the top and showy displays of gold and wealth have become the in thing to do for the local rich class, something which was started by a local politician Ramesh Wanjale who was known as the “gold man” of Pune, a title that Mr Pugh looks keen to take over.
“Everyone knows me as the gold man in the region. Many other rich people will spend Rs.10 million ($188,000) on expensive cars like Mercedes or Audis, I prefer to spend my money on gold, what’s wrong with that I just love gold” he said. It’s a shrewd move too, because his gold shirt won’t depreciate anyway near like a car and may even go up in value in the years to come.
India is the world’s largest importer of gold which is an essential part of religious festivals and weddings in the country. The government seeing this large and rising import bill has looked to discourage gold buying by slapping on a 50% import duty but that still didn’t stop Indians buying 933.4 tonnes of gold in 2011.
Although he may be over the moon with these new gold shirt, his wife who works for the ruling National Congress party (NCP) wasn’t too happy about it. His wife Seema Pughe said that her party does not approve of the vulgar display of wealth that is being shown by Datta.