Vintage fashion has always been interesting to contemporary tastes because it tells a story— of an older time, place, and people. The definition of vintage is constantly evolving because it is representative of time periods that are at least two decades old. But, certain eras have classic stylistic markers like the American 1950s were decorated with large skirts and pearl jewellery sets while the 1960s in India screamed paisley, tie-dye, and long silhouettes. Stuti Purohit, a graphic designer from Baroda, Gujarat, and vintage fashion consumer says, “Fashion trends rotate and the 80s are back because it’s so easy to just shop in your mom’s closet.”
Although South Asian vintage affeciandos currently make up a small, niche community, the Indian vintage fashion scene has started to gather steam in the last few years. This small fashion revolution has begun as a grassroots movement on social media, namely Instagram, as more and more vintage fashion houses are choosing to showcase their pieces online.
Many young people like Stuti have similar experiences in their introduction to vintage fashion- through their parents’ or older relatives’ wardrobes. But, for those of us who don’t have this easy access to fashion, here’s a guide to the movers and shakers of fashion who are nourishing vintage culture in India.
Location: Dimapur, Nagaland
Started by a full-time model named Carol fascinated by vintage fashion, Carol’s Shop And Tea Room is a vintage store in northeastern India. Carol sources her pieces from all over the globe- from Nepal and Delhi to Bangkok and New York. Carol’s deep dive into fashion began in her own closet and once her style caught the eye of friends and family, her store took off in popularity. The store’s Instagram account is every social influencer’s dream aesthetic, peppered with pastel summer dresses and floral shirts and blouses against the most scenic backgrounds; and we’re in love.
II. Red Empress
The Red Empress looks as regal as it sounds. Promoting a bold, feminist take on fashion, the label’s owners offer pieces that ooze an old-school classic and elegant vibe that still stands out in a crowd. Moving away from muted shades and simple design, The Red Empress is a burst of colour and electric patterns that work together in the most confusingly lovely way. With garment names like “Tangerine Blossom,” “90s Art Attack Shirt,” and “Tapestry Trapeze,” The Red Empress is a great fashion destination for those with more funky tastes.
DM them on Instagram to buy their pieces.
III. Bungalow Eight
Bungalow Eight’s vintage pieces are diverse and aren’t limited to clothing fashion. The store even offers antique furniture and art deco pieces for those looking for a more holistic vintage décor lifestyle. Their items are a fascinating blend of simply designed and bold statement pieces that date back as late as 1904. What makes Bungalow Eight unique is that it draws inspiration from regional aesthetics, whether that’s Jaipur’s pink buildings or using Kashmiri loom. Bungalow Eight is located right here in Bombay and should definitely be a stop on your vintage fashion tour.
IV. Viange Vintage
Started by two sisters, Mehek and Shikha Agarwal, Viange brands itself as a luxury vintage fashion store specialising in designer jewellery. From curating pieces by Chanel, Dior, and Givenchy, Viange’s Instagram page glitters gold and boasts of celebrities adorning high-end art deco accessories. If you don’t want to commit to a vintage lifestyle, dipping your toes in accessories and knick knacks first could be a great start to exploring the early decades of the 19th century.
To own Viange’s pieces, contact the store on +91982080195 or +919820543201.
Location: Khotachiwadi, Mumbai
This iconic store owned by Kanika Karvinkop, a former stylist at Grazia, finds its home in James Ferreira’s old, heritage bungalow in Khotachiwadi. Right from its setting, No Borders Shop lives and breathes vintage. Its pieces are curated from all over the world- Afghanistan, Paris, New York, and Nepal, and more- and span garments, accessories, art prints, fabrics, and brands. Kanika’s collection has a fabulous range, is interesting, and includes vintage flavours from all over the world. Her store is on its way to become a household name for vintage lovers and a one-stop shop for vintage fashion.
Started by Divya Saini, a 24 year old stylist and creative director from Mumbai, Bodements markets itself as “Handpicked. Exclusive. Upcycled.” Following a softer vintage tone punctuated with Indian aesthetics, Bodements has a wide collection of long, patterned dresses and shirts, trousers, and jackets. Divya’s personal style is “constantly evolving,” she says and aims to make a unique mark in the fashion industry. Like many others on this list, Bodements currently operates on Instagram and invites DMs and emails for purchase inquires.
A collection of separates, Disco.Very.Culture is a celebration of India’s disco scene between the 1970s and ‘80s. Their playful nature begins with the pun on their name and extends till the garments they choose to collect. Their Instagram account looks like an array of Bollywood movie posters and is a perfect example of the country’s vintage subculture. Their curated pieces are fun, colourful and bright, and eye-catching and have been showcased in several pop-ups in Bangalore.
Feature image by: Carol’s Shop And Tea Room & No Borders Shop
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