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    Punk Fashion


    Basant Lok Community Centre is a shopping paradise for many in Delhi, be it college goers or school teenagers. There are many fashion outlets from where people can buy cheap as well as branded stuff. In the vicinity of the centre are two fashion outlets – Punk and Metal – catering to the needs of a niche segment who want their attitudes to be spoken by the clothes they wear. Punk has another outlet in Centre Stage mall, Noida, while Metal also has another one in Saket community centre. The outlets offer a range of fashionwear to a chunk of people who want to sport a rugged and hip-hop look. The punk fashion started in the 1970s, which went well with the rock music and various rock bands prevalent at the time, and remains a hit in 2007 as well.

    Neha Chhetri disseminates the fashion idiom that makes Metal and Punk, well, different.

    Punk as a style originated in London in the 1970s, set in motion by Vivienne Westwood, a fashion designer, and her partner Malcolm McLaren, who was manager of the punk rock band Sex Pistols. Together they opened a store called SEX, which became a major hit with rock lovers. The fashion was all about r ipped jeans, torn t-shirts, scrappy haircuts and worn and torn leather jackets.

    Punk is as punk does

    Not everything has changed in 2007. In India, the youth today prefer funky clothes and the urban look, which evokes the retro flavour of the 70s and also helps them achieve a differentiation from Levi’s, Pepe and United Colors of Benetton. The outlets Punk and Metal cater to the needs of these people. However, though they cater to the same segment, they diverge along certain parameters like the clothes, the price range, and the accessories.

    When walking through the community centre, one cannot miss the Gothic look of the Punk outlet. Looking at the bags hanging on a metal body and a dummy wearing funky clothes, one is pulled inside in the urge to check what else this store offers. On the ground floor, the men’s section has a range of t-shirts that speak of ‘attitude’, jeans that have different varieties, and a huge collection of belts and wristbands. One can see a noticeable collection of funky clothes and accessories. “Punk is a hardcore fashion boutique that caters to people who are fashion-conscious and need a change from the existing brands,” asserts Pankaj Gulati, the owner of Punk.

    It is not just punk stuff that they keep, but also a good range of trendywear. In addition to a private label, the store boasts of one well-known brand – Wrangler. Apart from that, they have designed their clothes according to customer preferences. “ Fashion is a vicious cycle; what goes around comes back, but the old fashion should adapt itself to the new era. Punk fashion is coming back, but with a flavour of 2007 and with a refreshing change. It is surely going to be a hit,” opines Gulati. Cigarette pants, torn jeans, worn-out jeans, turn-up pants, leggings, hot pants, or skirts, you name it and you get it. There is a huge collection of sling bags, knapsacks and carry bags, all designed in a rugged and rave manner.

    The ambience at the outlet speaks for its collection and the music supports the punk motif. On the way to the first floor, one sees the stairs covered with jeans and bags on display. The female section caters both to dailywear and partywear, with feminine gowns and tops. The casual t-shirts scream attitude and are trendy. There is also a biker’s collection, helmets, badges and deadly varieties of rings. There is a huge collection of caps as well.

    Although the response of the salespeople can be cold enough, a visit to Punk does no harm. “There are a lot of walk-ins. People just visit the outlet to see what new we are catering to, and so our salespeople do not approach them. If you are eager to buy something, then they are surely going to help you. It’s basically because of the increasing number of window shoppers,” Gulati justifies.

    A heart of metal

    Metal is situated at the heart of Basant Lok Community Centre. Its loud music and heavy display of jeans, bags and shoes attract, and one wants to check out what new this outlet has to offer. Metal positions itself as a brand for the young, for the musicians and the music lovers, for the rockers and the rollers, for the rebels, for the individuals in a cult, for the self-assured, for the bold, for the different, for the travellers and the explorers, and for the global person.

    As one enters the store, one sees a variety of GB posters to choose from. Metal caters to the same segment of people as Punk, but it is more brand-conscious and its style is somewhat caught up with the existing big brands like USI, Von Dutch, Tough and Polo. Yet, it is strong enough to have its name standing out in the market and attract a host of eager buyers.

    “Brand-consciousness leads to a smaller portfolio of brands. It is our focus on style that leads us to have an assortment of selected products from various domestic and international brands and labels. We also have our in-house brand by the same name – METAL,” informs Sachin Rana of Uni Style Image.

    The ground floor of the outlet is dominated by menswear. Metal has its own designed clothes, but they are quite lost amid the heavy display of branded clothes. There is a considerable collection of cargos by Spykar. There are a lot of t-shirts mirroring Gothic rock, but the USI
    t-shirts overpower them. Von Dutch, Diesel and Polo find their places at Metal, but they are heavy on the pocket. Also available are a huge variety of trendy clothes, funky accessories, punkwear, ripped denims and jazzy tops. Wallets, lighters and belts add to the lot. “ We do not ‘follow’ any fashion statements; we help our consumers create their own style – a trendy street style, casual and individual. No one word can describe it, there have to be many – Gothic, street, punk, rock, niche, cult…,” says Rana.

    The female section on the second floor features a variety of partywear. Here, one finds a distinctly feminine touch lent to punk fashion. The female section is also marked by a heavy display of USI collection. Von Dutch and Tough find spaces in the collection of jeans.

    Out here also, as at Punk, one finds that the salespeople are none too approachable. If you need any help, you have to ask for it. “Nobody likes pushy salespeople, and we don’t want our staff continuously nagging the consumers. Our consumers want their own space, even while shopping,” Rana rationalises.

    Metal claims that their strength is quality, while Punk believes they give to their customers something different in terms of fashion. The market is mature enough for other big outlets offering punk fashion to enter the arena. Until then, for all you punk fashion people, Punk and Metal are the haunts for you!