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Shootout on the streets

City store and popular fashion blogger document Mumbai’s sartorial underbelly for new book on street style.

books Updated: Apr 05, 2011 13:48 IST
Rochelle Pinto

If that was you walking down the street in purple cigarette pants, white vest and checkered shirt, you just might find yourself in India’s first book on street style. Coinciding with the launch of their menswear line, high-end concept store Bungalow 8, in association with blogger Manou of Wearbout, have begun documenting Mumbai’s most stylish in an effort to discover the city’s fashion pulse.

“We thought of the idea when Mathieu, our in-house designer, was telling me about the city and the things that inspired him,” says Maithili Ahluwalia, owner. “We contacted Manou because he’s a good street photographer. But the people he usually shoots are at fashion week or people who are obviously better dressed than others. I wanted him to find people on the streets with strong personal style.”

Manou’s snapshots are as much a revelation of the city’s many sub-cultures as they are on the diversity of wardrobes. With subjects ranging from fisherman in colourful ‘kashtis’ to bespectacled hipster models and quirky hairdressers, you’ll be surprised at how much attention to detail the male species actually allow themselves.

Given that men, the focus of the study, are not traditionally known for being best friends with fashion, Manou’s task was not the easiest.

“We looked for people, irrespective of their status, who possessed a strong personal style. It was difficult with the general populace because they were less comfortable to be photographed,” he says. Ask him which areas in the city impressed and he shoots back, “The trendiest was Bandra, and the most eclectic was Colaba.”

Ahluwalia has big plans for the future: “We’ve already started looking at expanding the idea to feature women and children. We may feel our streets are not as evolved as those of London or Paris, but over there, people have access to major fashion brands and so things are very obvious. Here, fashion is about putting things together cleverly as you’re on a budget. That has more individualistic expression.”