Best Of Mumbai 2015: Shopping and Style
It’s been a prolific year for e-tailers, many of which made shopping a more exciting (and impulsive) experience. These included a number of indie clothing and accessories labels for which brick and mortar shops are simply uneconomical. Luckily for them, and for us shoppers, there’s also been an explosion of bazaars that bring together the kind of unique wares you’d scarcely find in a mall. Rarely does a month go by without a market or a pop-up sale. There’s The Lil Flea, the Black Taxi events, Stylecracker Borough, The Vintage Garden and Kitsch Mandi to name just the most prominent. The trend we’re even more pleased about is the renewed interest in handloom. The 100sareepact encouraged women to wear saris 100 times in 2015 and the Lakme Fashion Week Winter/Festive 2015 celebrated Indian textiles with an exhibition of handmade Banarasis at the Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum. Here’s where we spent most of our time and money through the year:
Best Indie Clothing Label
While Jodi was founded in 2014 by former Elle magazine stylists Gauri Verma and Karuna Laungani, they launched an online store in March this year. The label, which debuted at Lakme Fashion Week during the Winter/Festive 2015 edition, has swiftly become popular among shoppers who turn to indie designers for clothes that stand out from similarly priced mass-produced high street garb. Like other fans, what appeals to us most about Jodi is the combination of western cuts with designs that are playful riffs of Indian block prints (such as the vine-like stamp on the dress pictured on the right) instead of conventional floral motifs. Verma and Laungani work with artisans to create material that’s handwoven and block-printed by hand. Their chirpy colours, fun contrasts of prints, and cuts are up-to-date with global fashion trends.
Best Kids Label
Love The World Today
We first noticed the label Love The World Today at the fifth edition of The Lil Flea, held in November. The understated ensembles in blue and white were a stark contrast to the other colour and print-heavy children’s clothes and accessories being retailed at the bazaar. Dipna Daryanani and Dipti Ahuja, the sisters behind the three-month-old label, have consciously eschewed bright colours and embellishments (there are no cartoon illustrations) in their stylish wares for kids between the ages of one and six that feature subtle geometric and tie-and-dye prints. The biggest incentive to buy their clothes however is that the duo only uses organic cotton and linen and herbal dyes across the dresses, skirts, shirts and tops that make up their elegant first collection called Once Upon a Cotton, which they launched in October, the same month they opened their online store. They plan to retail three new collections a year through the site.
Best Accessories Label
Since the launch of Shop Lune’s online store in February, we’ve splurged a good portion of our savings on the dainty bling peddled by proprietor Sreesha Shetty. The Times of India journalist turned jewellery designer founded Shop Lune during a year-long work and study stint in London in 2012. After her move to Mumbai a year later, glossies here frequently featured her minimalist designs, prompting Shetty to set up a store. In addition to offering a range of stylish necklaces, bracelets, rings, earrings and ear cuffs, she has popularised body chains meant for draping around the neck and along the length of the torso. Shetty works with brass, rhodium and raw stone and has kept her pricing accessible. The baubles range from Rs550 to Rs3,000. About 50 per cent of the jewellery on the site are her own designs; she sources the rest during her frequent travels to Europe. Shop Lune also occasionally stocks capsule collections by clothing and accessories labels that Shetty loves. Currently the store is selling items from Chandni Sareen’s The Ikat Story and Doodlage.
Best Shopping Bazaar
The Lil Flea
When it was launched in April 2014 by Priyanka Punjabi and Alankar Jain, who have HR and TV production backgrounds respectively, the Lil Flea market featured about 100 shopping and 20 food stalls and received a footfall of over 12,000 people. Close to 36,000 people thronged the 250 shopping and 50 food stalls that made up the sixth edition, held over three days in the second weekend of December in Bandra-Kurla Complex. The outdoor bazaar warrants an entry in one’s diary and the tag line of Mumbai’s largest and happiest market. Among its big draws are the artful set-up (rice-light garlands, colourful signboards and installations) and line-up of indie music performances. Serious shoppers visit in the daytime to beat the crowds while families flock to it after sundown. The city hosts a number of well-curated bazaars but none can quite match the scale, organisation and vendor selection of The Lil Flea. It’s here that we stumbled upon Love The World Today and Shop Lune (see above), men’s accessories brand The Gentleman’s Community and ice cream sandwich makers Where’s My Cone. Each edition features a large number of new labels and the prices of the goods are always under Rs10,000.