These days, it’s not entirely unrealistic to go budget shopping and return with a Wendell Rodricks dress and Manish Arora jewellery to match. With an increasing number of designers collaborating with high street brands and designing low-cost ranges, the masses are in for a treat.
Dresses and shirts on the website Stylista.com are selling like hot cakes. Their USP? They’re all designed by the likes of Rodricks, Priyadarshini Rao, Nishka Lulla and other designers, but priced at a maximum of Rs5,000.
"I was initially apprehensive about e-retail, but the website’s team convinced me. I’ve wanted to do prêt for some time now," says Rodricks, adding, "I can now offer styles that suit the general market. I wouldn’t otherwise have the technology to do a beach print, but the website does. For me, this is an audience I’d love to get to know."
Apart from the multi-designer website, Rao also designs an affordable range under the brand name Mineral. Same is the case with Ritu Kumar, whose regular creations are a lot more expensive than her prêt line, Label. Rohit Bal, whose ensembles sell at premium rates, has received a good response to his reasonable collection for Biba, which has seen an increase in sales since it was launched on Jabong.com.
At Westside, Krishna Mehta’s low-cost range has been doing steady business for a few years. And salwar-kameez sets by Vikram Phadnis for Kashish have found fans at Shoppers Stop.
Best known for his high-end couture, Arora, too, is glad to have found a great way of being accessible, without compromising on style and quality. "Our basic midi rings are priced around Rs700. The rest of the range begins from Rs2,000," he says of his wildly successful collaboration with jewellery maker, Amrapali.
The designer is already working on his next range, which is inspired by desserts such as cupcakes, candy canes and sundaes. Arguably the biggest success story is of Anita Dongre, whose labels, AND and Global Desi have been doing solid business. "I started them at a time when most Indian designers were just doing bridal wear or couture. Offering designer outfits to consumers who don’t have access to high-end designer wear makes commercial sense too," she says.