A New Home For Independent Design

LifaafaAside from online stores and exhibitions, there are few places for independent designers working in the fields of fashion, art and home decor to show their wares. Joining the ranks of the handful of such avenues is Lifaafa in Bandra. It’s really a motley collection of clothes, jewellery, art, furniture and home furnishing objects by various designers scattered around the studio of founder Meenal Agarwal. A production designer, Agarwal works in a charming one-story outhouse in the compound of a bungalow near Bandra station. She started Lifaafa in August. “I’m not aiming at being a shop,” she said. “The idea is to create a few things and use the workspace as an outlet for design.”

In August, Agarwal started hosting a monthly ‘open day’ at her studio. At the last one, held on Saturday, September 19, we found roomy cotton clothes designed by Agarwal and Sonal Chowdhary, who runs the Mine Clothing Craft store in Versova, jewellery by Deepti Datt and Maithili Pamwani, who make a line of baubles called Golden Maithili, mini dioramas by Ruchi Bakshi and enamel ware that Agarwal had bought on a trip to Andhra Pradesh among other bits and bobs. Also on sale was coffee by The Indian Bean, a company that deals in single estate coffees from South India, and baked desserts by theatre actor Shivani Tanksale. Agarwal charges a small percentage of sales; there’s no fee for displaying items.

The objects were arranged all over the studio and browsing them felt a little like walking around Colaba art space Clark House, where artworks are displayed among personal photographs and curios belonging to the owners of the place. The atmosphere is casual and lively – one can browse objects while snacking on cake and strike up conversations with designers and fellow shoppers. The upcoming set of open days – Friday, October 23 to Sunday, October 25 – will have, aside from clothes and accessories, wallpaper by the French company Bien Fait and furniture that Agarwal bought from markets and remodelled.

Lifaafa, Vithal Bhavan, 11/12 Guru Nanak Road, behind Notan Heights, Bandra (West). The next set of open days are from Friday, October 23 to Sunday, October 25, from 11am to 6pm. Email appointment@lifaafa.com or follow Lifaafa on Twitter. Get directions here.

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