Every city has its own unique sense of fashion.
Catering to each metro state are their popularmarket streets.
They are fashion capitals of their city.
That’s what makes Chandni Chowk the fashioncapital of Delhi or New Market of Kolkata.
There’s Commercial Street in Bengaluru, Chennai’s Pondy Bazaar and Mumbai’s Linking Road.
We decided to visit the 5 metros and exploretheir fashion capitals and along the way hopefully learn a little bit about how India’s stylestatement is made.
This is India ka Fashion Capital powered byFlipkart Fashion and our first city is the definer of latest trends in popular culture, Aamchi Mumbai.
In 1661 the British procured the island cityof Bombay in dowry from the Portuguese.
Since then Mumbai has become the melting potof various communities, cultures and has a rich heritage.
It was India’s point of contact for allthings western being a port city.
Christian and Parsi women in Mumbai pioneereda western taste in styling as early as the 1920’s.
The 1960’s brought the first Indian fashionhouses and saree clad Bollywood heroines.
And the fashion boom actually happened inthe 1980s.
And, if Mumbai has a fashion Capital thenit’s undoubtedly Bandra.
Hello and welcome to India ka Fashion Capitalpowered by Flipkart Fashion.
We find ourselves in the midst of the Mumbaimonsoon in full swing.
The rains, bring with them a little chaosand a slowing down of pace in this maximum city.
However, the most torrential rains aren’tenough to slow Mumbaikars down from seeking out the latest trends on the streets.
Bandra is known as the Queen of the suburbs.
Geographically it is the first suburb, separatedfrom the older parts of the city by a narrow creek.
It is smack dab in the middle of the extendedcity and does not feel too far from either the north or south ends.
Bandra definitely deserves to be the firstin our series of fashion capitals.
Linking Road, runs through Bandra and is itsmain fashion hub.
Here you can find premium brands or fast fashionthat trickles down to the streets and it’s truly affordable.
This is the high street and the best placeto go shopping in Mumbai.
Obviously we decide to interview someone whohas had a long history with the street.
Zahir Jaffer’s family has dealt in leatherfor 4 generations and today he owns one of the oldest stores on Linking Road.
Ira: So typically in a week let’s say, howmany customers would you get in Sole to Soul? Zahir: Maybe about 500-600 customers wouldwalk-in, in a week.
Ira: Wow! Zahir: And now, it’s gone down by about30-40% over the years.
Ira: How many stores has the family had overthe years, on linking road? Such a historic place! Zahir: It was a joint business before, inthe 60s and 70s.
Ira: Oh my God! Zahir: So that time Linking Road was likeconcrete jungle.
There was nothing over here.
Ira: What are you saying… Zahir: My father told me, he used to come…theyused to live in town, so he used to take the morning 9’o clock bus, he used to come hereand he used to be waiting sometimes 6-7 hours for one customer to walk in you know… Ira: So there were hardly any storesYa, Bandra was not developed at that point Ira: So, what would your advice be to guyswho want to buy shoes in India? Zahir: See, I’d say that a cheap shoe isnot always a good shoe.
A cheap price doesn’t mean the shoe is alwaysgood because there are a lot of components, lot of materials that go into shoes.
Ira: Like for instance this guy here.
Zahir: Ya, so this guy is like… Ira: Tell us about him… Zahir: It’s a nice dremel kind of leather, slip-on kind of a shoe.
It’s got a few elements to it.
It’s got a nice TPR sole.
It’s got a nice lining.
And it is comfortable.
Ira: Ya it looks like the softest shoe I’veever seen.
Ira: Let’s see some of those shoes…someof your favourite ones.
Zahir: So I’m going to talk about the currentfad, which is now the white sneaker look, with the full white element.
Ira: This is very on-trend.
Yes, this is very on-trend.
Zahir: Lot of kids want to be tall so youcan have, on the inside a little heel.
Ira: Oh, it’s got heel inside? Zahir: Yeah it’s like a wedge.
Ira: Oh this is like a wedge heel sneaker! Zahir: So, in the wedding collection, earlierit used to be like this heavy, chunky bling things, but now it has gone daintier likethis laser cuts Swarovski diamonds.
Ira: Right, let’s take a closer look atthis.
This is a very intricate shoe.
Zahir: Lot of work there.
Ira: Very intricate shoe.
Zahir: So we are also adding like a littlenew kind of a material.
Like a TPR, which is more comfortable, easierto grip as compared to the leather which used to slip.
Ira: So you are really keeping up with thetrends in terms of the materials also and that’s awesome.
Ira: So we have a lot of comfort shoes hereand I have the whole store yet to go through, so I’m going to see you later.
Meeting Zahir made me understand the amountof hard work that goes into a high quality shoe.
And with my feet taken care of, I decidedto walk on to our next destination.
In today’s scenario, high-end fashion toohas a base in Bandra.
Almost every designer has a flagship storehere or is stocked in one of the high end stores in the green lanes of this suburb.
To understand a bit more about why fashionistasseem to flock here, we met up with someone who has carved a niche for herself in thescene.
Devangi Nishar Parekh is the Director of AzaFashion.
One of India’s most respected chain of multi-designerstores.
Today, here she is to tell us more about trendsin Mumbai.
Ira: How do you figure out what people reallywant? How do you figure out trends? Devangi: So trends is kind of a mix of twodifferent things.
Ira: OkayDevangi: One is the top down approach and one is the bottom up approach.
Can you explain to us illiterate people whatthis is? Devangi: So in terms of the top down approach, it’s designers working with their teams to really innovate and come up with what arethe trends for the season.
So in that case they will look into colors, fringes, tassels, tribals…these are the things that are currently trending, for example.
And the other way is when it actually tricklesdown…it goes through our stores of course, it goes into more mass market stores.
It trickles down and the way the customersactually receive the trends and the way they interpret it – that creates new trends altogether.
So for example, if you walk on the streetsyou will see a lot of street style right.
I might wear sneakers with a lehenga.
I might wear something really interestingand mix and match in my own way as an individual and that then inspires designers again.
Right, because they see things, the way trendsare being interpreted and it creates new inspiration.
Ira: This is very interesting what you’vejust told us.
Because I think there’s like a cyclicalsort of thing.
Everything is reinforcing the other thing.
So, what is happening in the designer storesand the luxury space is actually going into the streets.
And vice versa.
Ira: How often do trends really come back? Devangi: So trends come back in differentways.
So for example, what my mum wore maybe 20years ago, I too would wear it but not in the same way.
So I might wear Zara sneakers with a particulardesigner jacket with an heirloom saree which my mum bought in Benaras.
Ira: Do you shop outside Aza? Obviously, you have to.
Devangi: Actually I am an avid online shopper.
Ira: Everything is online! Devangi: I don’t get time to go to the store.
So yeah, I’m all about e-com.
Ira: Do you believe that a lot of the trendy, sort of fashion forward people and the fashion forward ideas come from Bandra? Devangi: In Bombay, I definitely think thatBandra is the melting pot.
And the way people in Bandra interpret trendsand the way they style their looks is truly original.
Right now, accessories with pom-poms or animalmotifs are really trending.
So you’ll see like shoes with pom-poms whichare tie-ups and they are all over linking road.
Ira: My God! Devangi: And you can go buy it and style itwith a designer dress, why not? Mumbai has a population of more than 1.
8 crores;this makes it more populated than one third of the countries in the world.
Obviously not everyone can afford to shopin stores like Aza.
So where do the average income people shopand how do they manage to still be more stylish than their country cousins? To learn a little bit more we took a walkthrough Bandra’s favourite high street Linking road.
Ira: Can you give us some tips on how to bargain? Shopper: This price doesn’t work.
Please say a correct price.
All those common things.
Yeah, and they will come to a price that youare actually comfortable with.
Shop owner: If the shop owner is stating theprice at 250-350, you start the bargain at half of the price point.
Ira: Half of the price point, always! Shop owner: Start at half of the price pointand he will bring down the price.
Ira: Oh perfect, half of the price point, always! Ira: How do you keep up with the trends anddo you think Linking Road is up with the trends? Shopper: Absolutely, yes! You can just look around, it’s just perfect.
Ira: So tell us a few things you like to buyover here.
Shopper: I think the shirt dresses, or somethinglike dungarees, or ripped jeans for that matter, is really cheap and really nice.
Ira: How do you come to know about what istrending, or in fashion? Shop owner: We import the clothes.
So we come to know what is going to be trendy.
Ira: How long have you been shopping here? Shopper: Every week we come.
Ira: What do you think, what is so specialabout Linking Road? Shopper: It’s cheap and easily available.
Ira: What is the cheapest thing that you’vebought from a market like this? Shopper: A shirt worth 500 rupees.
Ira: He is gifting me a pair of earrings people.
Ira: So what is in fashion the most thesedays? Shop owner: These days dungarees is a lotin trend.
Ira: DungareesShop owner: Like this one Ira: This one, how much is this for? Shop owner: This is for Rs.
Ira: This is too much.
Only when you know the pulse of each and everylocal fashion scene can you understand what India’s fashion rhythm is.
Flipkart is the Fashion Capital because itpays attention to everything that happens around the country.
To tell us a little bit about why Flipkartloves Bandra we met up with Priyanka Misra and Arindam Mukherjee.
In the last one year, it has been a fantasticjourney.
We at Flipkart have tried our best to bringthe latest fashion, the hottest styles, whatever is you’re seeing on social media, what you’reclicking on Instagram, things that you’re watching you favourite film stars wear, it’sall on Flipkart.
A lot of work has gone on, and we’ve triedto work with our brands, our sellers, got you a lot of exclusives to ensure that thereis something fashionable in everyone’s wardrobe in India.
What’s actually trending is something weactually want to kind of figure out.
So our machines on the technology side ofthings really try to do that.
Scanning the internet to figure out what’strending across the globe in terms of fashion.
We capture all of those trends and try tobring that selection in front of the users on Flipkart.
And that’s why Flipkart is kind of one ofthe premier shopping destinations online where users shop for the trendiest fashion of Indiaavailable.
You don’t need to buy a ticket to Mumbaito shop there.
Flipkart makes sure that the minute somethingis on the shelf of the trendiest boutiques of Linking Road, it’s also available toyou anywhere in India.
But what are the other metros like when itcomes to fashion.
In this series we are going to the fashioncapital of each and every metro in India.
We are going to pay homage to the style settersand the taste makers and all those people who have kept fashion alive.
My name is Ira Dubey and I hope you come backfor the next leg of my journey where I go to the fashion capital of our nation’s capital, where things might get loud and boisterous but it never gets dull.
I will see you in Delhi.
Till then: Viva la fashion.