My latest blogpost for Grazia India
A quick one-on-one with Aashni Shah at her much awaited store opening - Aashni and Co. London now gets it's very own slice of Indian luxury
London’s trendy Notting Hill saw the opening of Aashni & co, a one stop shop for Indian designer wear in London. From selecting an eclectic product mix to stocking the right names, its owner Aashni Shah seems to be making all the right moves. With prices (ex-VAT) on par with India and a well thought out expansion strategy, the future seems bright for this brand new London outpost for Indian fashion.
How did the concept of Aashni & co come about?
I believe there is great talent in India and the design sensibilities is becoming more and more international. It is time the Indian designers have a platform in London to showcase their talent. My background is more film related. I began my career as an editor for commercials in Prime Focus, moved on to direct short films and assist directors in Feature Films in London. So yes, having no previous experience in Fashion and Retail- I have set out with a concept in my mind and doing the best I can with my team to execute it!
What designers do you carry? What is your buying philosophy?
A & C currently stocks Rohit Bal, Sabyasachi, Gaurav Gupta, Shivan & Narresh, Nida Mehmood, Pankaj and Nidhi, Gauri & Nainika. We will be introducing Bodice by Ruchika Sachdeva, Surendri byYogesh Choudary, Manish Malhotra and Varun Bahl in October. We are targeting to diff sets of customers- Asians and non-Asians but common to our presentation to both is Indian Design with a very contemporary style. We make our selections based on India's strong heritage in color, textile and craft. We have clothing and accessories that start from £150 to £3000+ for bridal couture.
Do you think London will be receptive to your store? How has the response been so far?
Absolutely. The purpose of the store is to launch and mark an imprint of the Indian Designers into the UK markets. That is possible only if the non-Asian clientele is equally attracted. One month into the opening and 60% of my clientele are non -Asians. And this is not just for the RTW line but also the A & C bridal section. I have the locals buying Lehengas and Saris (without any occasion to go to!) and they absolutely love it! They are in awe of the intricacy and beauty of the garments they see. For the Asians- it is similar to the buying they would do in India. A wide variety to choose from, with look books available to scan through and even getting designers flown in for Private appointments - we are aiming to build the designer and collection base in London at par with India.