counterfashion 2- indian brands for real people

Hello devis. It isn’t easy negotiating academics and a housemaid Situation, so I blog when I get a breather. I’m thrilled, humbled and grateful that so many of you are reading what I have to say, and are writing in with your love, angst, and questions. It means so much.

On to Counterfashion 2, yes?

4. Bhane

I’m an obsessive-compulsive Googler, so Bhane popped up on a random search. Then YM, a very nice girl I worked with, mentioned them because we were talking clothes and fabric, and I decided to investigate. The results were happy. Bhane are an e-tailer of simple, largely monochrome, largely print-and-pattern-free clothing that makes excellent building blocks for your wardrobe. They manufacture trusty, near- ascetic basics that will not fail you should you need to pack a suitcase in a hurry. You can wear their clothes to work, to brunch with friends, to a date, and on long journeys, rail or air. And they make great gifts, especially if you’re unsure about what to give someone. (Yes, they’re fail proof.) Their styling is fresh (how I hate that word!) and subversive; they use real people for models and photograph them in surroundings you and I can gleefully identify with a “I was here just last week!” They’re all about keepin’ it real (will someone stop me? why am I using words and phrases I positively hate? It’s like I’m in a badly written sitcom, or at a creative presentation in client-agency meeting or something). But seriously, their styling will take your breath away. Their clothes have a fashionably worn, lived-in look about them, like they’re all manufactured in the Factory of Hard Knocks and Bad Luck. And because they cast people literally picked off he street, their photographs see a  happy churn of models and locales.

My last purchase from Bhane was a turmeric yellow top with a tie at the back, something I see myself wearing a lot because the material is so soft and fluid and drapey and forgiving of all my baby fat and because yellow, you people! Last I checked, nothing on their website cost a rupee beyond three thou, so your wallet will not feel the ache. If you’re in Delhi just as I am, they’re quick to deliver.

These are my favourite looks.








Where to haunt Bhane–

What I mostly buy– Their tops. (still iffy about buying bottoms, but that’s only my irrational fear of being saddled with bum trousers that leave teeth marks on my belly.)

Similar e-tailers I love– Freecultr @

5. Play Clan

I swear to God their obsession with the mooch has nothing to do with their inclusion here. I do. They’re a fantastic brand that turns kitsch on its head and delivers consistently cerebral design that borrows heavily from the gaming and cartoon aesthetic. Their motifs are digitally rendered versions of key Indian symbols filled in with saturated primary colours, and the effect is beautiful. (I’ve reined myself in and not used the words ‘edgy’ and ‘playful’. Yay.)  I had the pleasure of emailing with the founder (when I was at the Hindustan Times) and he was a polite bloke who knew his stuff.

I wear a lot of Play Clan, and intend to wear them all my life. I own a PC tee with the Dalai Lama on it, a light green dress pattered all over with huts and people, a translucent top with daubs of fuchsia, and a dark blue tote teeming with human figures. They’re a teeny bit pricier than I’d like them to be, but that’s okay. Most of their stuff costs between a thou and three.  They’ve just started making saris too- the cherry on the cake (Damn! *bites tongue*)

Here are some looks from the brand, sourced from and Look at all that colour!





Delhi Play Clan stores I haunt– Select City Walk Saket, Meherchand Market and

What I mostly buy– Their tees, dresses and totes

Similar brands I love– Quirk Box @

More brands soon, devis. Stay tuned. (I give up. Today is obviously National Cliche Word & Phrase Use Day.)




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