Retailing the Hyderabad city’s design

Deccan Chronicle.  | Yashika Mathur

Lifestyle, Fashion and Beauty

Retail exhibitions, almost two-three per week, are being organised in the city. And they all seem to draw a good crowd.

Archie Paranji, designer, Kamini Saraf, entrepreneur, Sashi Nahata, entrepreneur.

Gone are the days when a designer would step out of Delhi or Mumbai and make an exception to showcase their work in Hyderabad. Now, almost every alternate weekend, the city is hosting retail exhibitions by local as well as other designers. With a wide variety of designs, a bigger price range and marketing tactics, Hyderabad has turned into a happening hub. So what makes Hyderabad attractive to fashion sellers?

“After Delhi and Mumbai, people have started seeing Hyderabad as the third destination where everything is understood and the liquidity to buy fashionable things exists, hence the spurt. There are weeks when there are three to four exhibitions at all the star hotels. Even smaller coffee shops and cafes have started playing host to the designers,” says Kamini Saraf, owner of designer brand Angasutra, further adding, “Our rentals and affordability to have exhibitions is much better than other cities. The profit margins are better too.”

With more brands emerging in the city or coming in from other parts of the country, the competition is cut-throat. But can this competition become too much? “No,” feels Sashi Nahata, whose range Akritti Elite, is one of the most popular go-to hubs in the city. Shedding light on the competitive market, she says, “Too many exhibitions do hamper the designers. And while there is a market for everyone right now, the craze will eventually die down and the market will see the impact of hosting so many different labels. Everyone has to come up with something new in their events — a lucky draw or some other hook.”

Interestingly, the shopping mall and boutique culture came late to Hyderabad as compared to other cities, which makes this a fertile ground for designers from all over the country to come here and please a new audience. Aby Dominique, Managing Director, Hi-Life exhibition, is used to presenting multiple designers in cities across India. When it comes to Hyderabad, he says, “Exhibition culture is popular because people love exclusive pieces here. Since the boutique culture came in late, people who want exclusive designs thrive on exhibitions which have customised designs.” Commenting on the growing exhibition culture, he says, “Not only is there a flood of exhibitions, there is cut throat competition too. But the buying pattern has gone down in the last six months.”

Samia Alam Khan, curator goes on to make a point. She says, “Hyderabad has grown in terms of retail space, more specifically when it comes to life-style/fashion exhibitions. There is a flip side to it. With too many shows happening within a short period of time, the quality of the entire concept may get impacted. With so many of options available it may become confusing to choose the right brand to associate.”