Shopping: Mumbai at Crossroads

Sep 15, 2013, 12:42 IST | Sunday Mid DAY Team

In section two of our 32nd anniversary special, we take a walk down memory lane and wonder at how people in Mumbai lived earlier

SUNDAY MID DAY 32nd Anniverary Special, Mumbai

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1987: Ensemble is launched

Tarun Tahilani (second from left) Simi Garewal and Rahul Khanna at Ensemble in 2003.File pic

In 1987, fashion designer Tarun Tahiliani launches the first haute couture store, Ensemble at Lion Gate in Colaba. It is among the first stores to stock various Indian brands under one roof and soon becomes a stepping stone for young designers, to showcase their creations. It revolutionises brand loyalty in India.

1999: Crossroads revolutionises shopping

Crossroads is the first mall in the city to stock various brands under one roof in 1999. Pic/Suresh KK

In 1999, Crossroads is the first modern shopping mall in India. Built on an area of 1,50,000 sq ft, it is spread over four buildings in Mumbai Central. It opens to public in September 1999 and stocks major international as well as Indian brands. It is later renamed Sobo Central Mall.

2011: Hermès comes to India

In 2011, luxury French brand Hermès sets shop at Horniman Circle. Spread across two floors and 3,000 sq ft. It is located in one of Fort’s iconic Victorian buildings. The store stocks everything from scarves, perfumes, and
modern apparel.

2013: Forever 21 wows shopaholics
Forever 21, the worldwide high street brand, launches its first boutique in Infiniti 2 Mall, Malad on June 1, 2013. The high-street brand, which is famous for selling high-end clothing at cheaper prices, is a welcome break from other designer labels. 

Then & Now: The art of shopping: Devieka Bhojwani, social activist

In the early 1980s, the idea of shopping was far simpler. It was more of a necessity than a choice. In the ’80s and the ’90s we had the concept of boutiques — a standalone shop that mostly sold everything from skirts to blouses, trousers to Indian-wear. Since I was never into brands, I usually used to go to Khadi Bhandar and Handloom Houses of the world for choosing fabrics for my dresses.

When Fashion Street and Colaba Causeway came up in the ’90s, we were all excited and didn’t shy away from buying the best footwear and clothes from the million stalls that were lined to eternity. I remember, I used to also go to Colaba Causeway to get foreign rejects and gladly flaunt it to my friends who reacted with utter amusement.

But with globalisation, the concept of a ‘boutique’ or ‘family shop’ changed. In the modern times, malls have changed the concept of shopping. Marks & Spencer came to India in 2001 and was considered a boon. Subsequently, high-street brands such as Mango, Zara in 2010 and GAP helped in democratising fashion by making it cheaper and available for people who couldn’t always afford designer labels. The whole notion of being a ‘brand slave’ meant that the novelty factor was lost as everybody wore the same things that were available at multi-brand retails.

Honestly, I think there is too much of too many things nowadays. I have grown-up in an archaic era and will always be partial to my vintage hand-me- downs and fabrics from Khadi Bhandar. Brands are not a bad thing unless they become unattainable. An occasional Gucci and Louis Vuitton are always welcome but for me, they don’t create the same excitement that a custom-made dress does.

Sepia memory: Vidya Heble

Computers were still a new thing in my world when I joined MiD-DAY, in 1995. I had moved to Mumbai (it was still Bombay then) from Goa. It was a move from a small town to a big city, small newspaper to big-city tabloid, and most important, from typewriters to computers. I had just about shaken off the typist’s instinctive action of trying to hit ‘carriage return’ in the air at the end of each line — something Microsoft Word does automatically. Many people today have not even seen a typewriter. Most have not used one and have no clue what carriage return is. Those who use Notepad may know of the ‘word wrap’ feature — if you don’t turn it on, your words go on and on endlessly without moving to the line below. On a typewriter, something like that would happen if one did not hit ‘carriage return’, except that you’d damage the machine. I was sad to leave the old Remingtons behind in my Goa workplace, but I’ve held on to my own portable typewriter. No electronics for me — I don’t want to completely forget ‘carriage return’.

Vidya Heble, Deputy Editor, News Features, MiD-DAY, was earlier with MiD-DAY from 1995 to 1998 

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