Shades of India expands retail footprint; forays into menswear

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Shades of India, the brand that combines contemporary design with the inspiring workmanship of traditional craft, has tripled its space to create a unique concept store for apparel, menswear and home. The brand has opened another store at Meharchand Market.

Led by Design Director, Mandeep Nagi and former UK journalist, David Housego, the brand in the new space spreads across 800 sq.ft. The brand has separated apparel and accessories from home. All the interiors have been designed by Mandeep Nagi in the same spirit as the previous collections.

The interior is minimalist with an emphasis on open areas. As customers enter they look across to a shoji screen in wood and fabric that slides like the shutter in an old Japanese home. The walls are white and bare to allow the colours of the clothes and accessories to find their voice. The other elements are cement, iron and glass.

The Home store is a few steps from the apparel and accessories. They form different elements of the Shades of India shop facade. The heart of the store remains textiles for interiors. But to this have been added iconic items that can give an unexpected touch to a home.

Textile hangings or hand crafted jewellery are treated as works of art. Ceramics – many again inspired by Japan – give an unexpected touch to a shelf or a table. The antique is mixed with the contemporary. Textures are contrasted by colour or by mixing masculine or feminine. The message is that a room or an interior space can be re-thought to provide the unexpected, the imaginative and the creative.

Menswear – A New Category

Along with these collections, Shades of India has launched for the first time a men’s clothing collection. This has been designed in collaboration with Anupam Poddar, a collector and curator of contemporary art who has a passion for textiles.

Poddar believes men – even the more conservative – are ready to experiment with their clothing. The collection breaks away from the traditional but respects that men are still less willing to take risks than women. Together they have brought innovation to shirts, kurtas, waistcoats, jackets and men’s accessories.

The new men’s collection is called Duet. The name is a tribute to the collaboration between Mandeep Nagi, Design Director and Anupam Poddar, distinguished art collector who has a passion for textiles.

They joined hands because they feel that there is a gap in the menswear market. Men – who once were so conservative – are looking for something different. This is as true in India as in the US and Europe. The Duet brings together one of the few men in Delhi who is innovative in how he dresses, with the creative skills and resources of Mandeep Nagi and Shades of India.

According to Poddar, “Fashion for me has always been an interest because it is a way of expressing yourself. What you wear is in a sense who you are and a way of creating your own persona.”

“We called our collaboration a Duet because it felt a little bit like a dance – a fashion and art tango of sorts. The synchronicity of two individuals who move as one, can take a little practise to achieve, but it’s a beautiful thing in the end,” he adds.

Mandeep Nagi says, “As a women’s wear designer, I can imagine in advance how a dress or kurta will look. But I have no experience of men’s fashion. It has been a great joy to collaborate with Anupam and to combine our different strengths.”

The collection has both informal easy-to-wear clothes and also formal wear for a party or a special occasion. It is designed for men who want to experiment, but still be comfortable in their clothes. It can be worn by men of all ages from the young to the father, who want to look unique and stand out from the crowd.

The collection includes shirts, kurtas, jackets, waistcoats and men’s accesories from scarves and shawls to men’s pocket squares and cufflinks.

The uniqueness of the brand style lies in the texturing of fabrics, the coordination and contrasting of colors, and the inventive, unexpected use of surface treatment.

Future Plans

Founded almost two decades ago, Shades of India has build up a strong international reputation and has sold to leading department stores around the world including Harrods and the Conran Shop in the UK, ABC and Gumps in the US, Le Bon Marche in Paris, and Lane Crawford in Hongkong. The company has participated in major international fairs including Maison et Objet in Paris and the New York Gift show.

“In around 2008, when most of the markets collapsed, India was not much affected and we decided to take a chance in India,” reveals Nagi.

Building on its international reputation, Shades of India established its own first stand alone retail store in the Meharchand Market in New Delhi in 2012. It has already become an iconic shopping destination and covers Shades of India’s full range of apparel, fashion and home accessories and home furnishings. Shades of Indianow sells through over 20 outlets in India including Good Earth stores and the Jaypore on-line site.

“In terms of profitability, it is more in India. We are looking forward to expand the brand presence.The next store of Shades of India will be opening in Mumbai next year,” she concludes.

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