Festive Shopping

What do you say when you have so many places to look at, so many options to choose from with the best on offer at the stores? It is shopping mania at its best, thanks to Diwali luring shoppers to their plush stores. While the season of sales are long over and discounted rates are not attached to the price tags, it also signals brand new stock on stands, holding out the latest styles in vogue. After all, doesn’t everyone want to look trendy and with the times rather than be known as sporting last year’s style?

Options for trendy yet traditional

Traditional wear tops the shopping list. There are traditional kurtis in bright colours, indo-western outfits like kurtas, sarees, skirts and dhothi pants with ethnic prints but styled with a twist to make you feel like the modern Indian fashionista. Kolkata based designer Meghna Nayak of LataSita Clothing sells her merchandise through exhibitions and a small studio, catering to the Indian woman with a bohemian twang. This could mean women in their 20s, 30s or even older who want to unleash their fashionable carefree side and choose something ‘hatke’, which is not available in stores. It might spell dhoti pants in ethnic prints and sold colours, which can be worn in more ways than one with kurtis and tops. Or, there are also smart jackets to choose from which can be worn over dresses or pants changing the overall look from plain Jane to contemporary. These can be worn to spark off the festive season and bring out of the wardrobe time and again, when it calls for style meets contemporary.

Talking about contemporary, across the counter sale of the half sarees are in demand this season emulating the style queens on screen. Whether it is a Bollywood star or a personality in their favourite serial on air, most Indians aspire to wear what they see on screen which are the latest styles. Popular demands coming from shoppers are a blend of ethnic and contemporary as opposed embroidered sarees which worked last year. After all, a festival like Diwali comes once a year and everyone wants to look different from what their family and friends remember them as the year before. The festive season is about a traditional touch to match the personality.

People still choose to do traditional shopping

While e-commerce websites are raining discounts and the latest styles, there are some people who are used to the age-old tradition of walking into the store and shopping. Says Rajesh Lachwani, Owner of Jailaxmi Sarees in South Kolkata’s shopping hub of Gariahat, “In e-commerce people cannot feel the product, see the quality or what suits them which over the counter sales offer. Especially when it comes to personal use during the festive or wedding season, one would still choose to walk into a store, take their time and buy items which they can count as collectables to be worn over the years. Often buying on e- commerce websites is more of the use and throw kind for youngsters.” While Jailaxmi Sarees also has an e-commerce platform, orders mostly are made from overseas clients for gifting their friends and relatives in India.

With Durga Puja and Id which just turned the corner, it is a busy time now for shopkeepers as Diwali draws close. While people spend an average of Rs. 500-2,000 on sarees as gifts, buying the traditional 6 yards for personal use could mean people shelling out anywhere between Rs. 2,000-5,000. Without a doubt, when it comes to wedding shopping for those tying the knot in the next few months, the sky is the limit.

Shopping – a pleasant activity during festivals

For those whom the sky is not the limit when it comes to shopping, there are shops in the smallest of places in the city which might offer great designs in colours one is looking for. After all, e-commerce might not be for everyone on a shoe string budget. Says social commentator, Nrisinha Prasad Bhadhuri, “E-commerce is ideal for working professionals who don’t have time to jostle crowds in the markets, yet they are getting the latest styles and brands at their doorstep. They might not be finicky about fitting and cuts, but quality is not always guaranteed as opposed to what many people find when shopping at a store.”

So this festive season, going to the markets with a shopping list might be practical, but don’t be pleasantly surprised with what lands up in the shopping bag at the checkout counter. Shopping at the tiny stores or labels that don’t have a space in malls or on e-commerce websites, could just be refreshing as compliments follow at festive get-togethers with an attire that stands out.