Wannabe fashionistas and struggling designers everywhere can take heart. The International Institute of Fashion design (INIFD) Andheri, has opened a store called Tassel Style Lounge, housing students’ collections only. Stocking everything from shoes and clothes to chocolates, the store was launched to give students a chance to test their commercial quotient.
“We used to have an LG showroom in that space,” says Vivek Gautam, franchise owner of INIFD. “Once we took that space to expand our brand, we decided to re-open it as a store and launch our students’ work.” Gautam admits that many of them don’t have the finances to open their own stores or participate in fashion weeks. “They often have to go back to a regular job, despite having the talent to design. Since we don’t charge them for rack space, they only have to spend money in designing and producing their garments,” he adds.
Graduating students display their final collections in the store, after getting them approved by the fashion department head, Gunal Gaikwande and Gautam’s wife, Mamta. The store even allows alumni to share space, provided their garments have been approved for their pricing and commercial viability.
“We don’t allow them to price their clothes too high,” reveals Sacorina Joseph, store manager and alumnus of the institute. “Since I am a designer myself, I can take the precise measurements of customers and help them decide what garments would suit them.”
The best part of the store is the prices. Among the designs worth checking out, is a colour-blocking range of dresses (Rs 1,000 onwards) by first-year student Pooja Mehta, easily the most professional range in the store.
Hand painted bangles by brand Masakalli (Rs 70) and a quirky
print bag in the shape of a pair of shorts (Rs 600) by Mansi Vora and Kashish Hans are funky yet affordable. Joseph’s own line of printed party dresses are priced at Rs 800 onwards. “I’ve priced it in a way that I would be tempted to pick this dress from a store if I were shopping,” she says. Another student, Khushboo, has created a line of form-fitting dresses out of upholstery fabrics, though they look like they could easily have come from a high-end designer store.
“The idea has caught on, and we are expecting to open stores in Ahmedabad, Surat and Delhi soon,” reveals Gautam. “We will invite students from all academies and backgrounds to test their collection there. Once they prove to be successful, we can launch them in a bigger way.”