Thirty-eight years ago, the grand old lady of Indian fashion, Ritu Kumar, spun the thread of a demand for exclusive clothes and good designs among the not so fashion conscious ‘Calcuttans’. So, the designer gifted the city its first ever designer-wear outlet – a small room rented out by a grocery store on Wellesley Street. Designer wear in Kolkata has crept along ever since and is ready to ride a crest today, having invaded malls and marriages, boardrooms and bars.Till about six-seven years back, Kolkata designers were considered to be regional. But in the past five years, the city has seen the emergence of a strong core of young designers who have put our fashion on the international map. This has generated massive awareness about designer wear in the city. The “designer fever” has finally hit Kolkata.
In Calcutta, professionals still don’t invest that much in designer clothes. They either go to the swanky malls or to high end retail stores, but with the changing retail trends it is expected that nobody would be left out of the grasps of this new revolution that has it the city. Designers exploit the heritage and tradition of Bengal, where the strengths lie in the weaves, the hand-embroidery and the prints-which explains the rich ethnic couture content. Calcutta has emerged as a big wedding centre. A lot of people from other cities, even Delhi and Mumbai, come down to Calcutta to do their wedding and trousseau shopping. There is a boom in the entertainment industry – more multiplexes, new restaurants and people getting new places to hang out. This will provide people with more and more occasions to flaunt clothes and increase the requirement for prêt, which is being touted as the next big thing in fashion that will sweep Kolkata off.