Looking online at the spring and summer offerings from the likes of The Gap, Banana Republic, Zara, H&M, etc., I’ve noticed that just about every store has something inspired by India. Embroidered or sequinned tops, cotton kurtas, long, full skirts, and paisley prints, appear to be – from this vantage point – all the rage in the U.S. and Europe, so much so that these designs have trickled down to the mass market. I don’t know if I like this, as this whole India fashion explosion was supposed to happen next year, when I return with an enviable stash of fashion forward Indo-garb. Okay, so I won’t be so special. But I will have a nice array of custom-designed, custom-fit clothing.
Over the past two weekends, I have discovered the extremely addictive world of fabric shopping in Mumbai’s Mangaldas Market. Walk past the chaos of placemat and plastic sellers opposite and slightly caddy-corner from Crawford Market and therein lies the covered bazaar where many Bombay tailors and designers buy their silks, chiffons, and printed cottons. This being India, the vendors are crammed side-by-side along bustling lanes – not aisles, because that connotes wide, empty paths – but numbered lanes, which are as narrow and congested as Churchgate rail cars at rush hour.
According to a recent issue of Wallpaper Magazine, John Galliano has been spotted in past years strolling through Mangaldas Market, snatching up bolts of fabric for his ready-to-wear collections. Keeping his motto of the month in mind, I decided it was time for me to jump into the designer game, if only for myself.