Inside A Delhi Concept Store Spotlighting Homegrown Digital First Fashion Labels

Image of the shop front of Concept store VASA Indica in New Delhi's Regency One

In talking of how social media has democratised the world, the industry of design and fashion is one that can be looked at closely as a marker of this. A million homegrown fashion and design brands have found the right audience through the power of social media. For those with an eye for design, and the mettle to play the long game, social media has opened up a world of creative business opportunities. But for those who’re creating premium attire, the aspect of physical presence and offering offline experiences are still a matter that requires great undertaking. This itself becomes the roadblock that prevents the scaling of many promising fashion ventures. VĀSA Indica is a concept store in New Delhi’s Regency One that is addressing this crucial gap in the industry, but with a resolute focus on intentional curation.

The 5000 sq. ft retail space has been designed with the brand founders’ vision to categorise the space to best display their casual, cruise, indie, ethnic, swimwear, menswear, and jewellery selections. Featuring 60+ homegrown designers - both established and emerging as well as those with offline presence and those without - they have created a shopping experience that bridges what was an evident gap in the market. 

We caught up with the founding trio of VĀSA INDICA - Rishi Sakhuja, Devika Sakhuja and Yuvraj Singh Shergill to better understand the ethos of the concept store and platform. The trio embody what they like to call ‘The New Indica’ that “offers strong support to Indian brands while boldly championing the essence of Indica values.” Each of the founders brought in their distinct skill set to create the platform. As the founder of multiple renowned D2C brands, Rishi’s strategic direction and experience in market and his personal love for fashion when paired with Devika’s eye for curation that stems from her experience both as a consumer and a professional in the lifestyle luxury industry, balanced with Yuvraj's expertise in retail and real estate development, all came together to create The New Indica. 

With VĀSA, the founders were dedicated to discovering and showcasing brands from across the country from the get go. The team let us further in on their curation and intention with the space they are building -  “At VĀSA Indica, we are dedicated to discovering and showcasing brands from across the country that exemplify craftsmanship, product uniqueness, and the commitment of brand owners to push boundaries. Our curation team engages with hundreds of brands, meticulously assessing each for alignment with our vision and ethos. We seek not just to curate brands, but to forge partnerships with those that have shown market traction and recall value, proving they have navigated the initial stages of growth.”

Taking varying parameters into account, the team evaluated brands from across India - from production capacity to the distinctive quality of original designs, and most importantly, the people behind the brands. They seeked out passionate brand owners who are enthusiastic and hands-on with their venture. Envisioning the partnership as a collaborative journey, the trio curated the current selection of undiscovered but disruptive digital-first labels to renowned labels looking to expand their market who align with 'The New Indica'. 

Envisioning VĀSA as a retail-as-service platform that could also launch brands, they curated from digital first brands who had already attained well-deserving acclaim and/or loyalty among customers. By working with these brands that are innovative in how they approach Indian craft and the narration of identity through it, they are creating a shopping experience that caters to all sartorialists and their taste - minimalists, maximalists and everything in between. The trio went on to mention how “our focus on digital-first and lesser-known brands stems from our belief that these brands are at the forefront of creativity and innovation, not just in Indian fashion but globally. They deserve greater accessibility to consumers.”

According to them, "research shows that 82% of Indian consumers prefer to touch and feel products priced over INR 5,000 before purchasing, highlighting the importance of a physical retail presence to avoid plateauing sales and outreach". As champions of homegrown, digital-first fashion labels, this is a challenge that we’ve heard time and again from designers - the difficulty of justifying the price points of meticulously crafted attire and jewellery, which are best experienced in person. But as astutely explained by the founders of VĀSA INDICA, “establishing a physical presence is often costly, time-consuming, and distracts brands from focusing on their core product development. Recognizing the importance of a phygital strategy, we bridge this gap. High-quality retail real estate is limited, making up only 4% of the market. This scarcity positions us as a crucial intermediary in the retail ecosystem, providing these innovative brands with the opportunity to thrive in a physical space while they continue to focus on their strengths.”

Ranging from Ka-Sha from Pune and Naushad Ali from Pondicherry to Ode-to-Odd from Ranchi and Heena Agrima from Jaipur, VĀSA Indica’s retail space in Regency One features select collections from designers big and small, but are united in their quality and craftsmanship. 

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