Where to find vintage Dior in Mumbai
In one of Mumbai’s jam-packed Girgaon lanes, a nondescript turn leads to an older, more restful Bombay. Over the last week, this well-preserved Portuguese hamlet has drawn shoppers from far corners of the city, including a visit from “The Sartorialist” Scott Schuman. Kotachiwadi, the permanent address of Kanika Karvinkop’s travelling No Borders shop, has no clear signage, but any reclining figure on one of the several open balconies will gladly point you to its wooden doors, also the home of the area’s most famous resident—designer James Ferreira. The upper storey of his 200-year-old heritage home now accommodates this charming new vintage store that aims to “build diversity in fashion, art and design”.
Karvinkop, a stylist who works in New York and Mumbai, conceptualized the No Borders store last November with the intention of making designer labels more affordable, and popularizing the concept of vintage shopping in India. “Last year, I had a pop-up with 200 pieces and they sold like crazy. It made me realize that everybody just goes to Zara and H&M because there’s no other option if you want to buy something interesting last-minute,” she says.
Inside Ferreira’s former studio, vintage pieces from runway giants such as Dior, Kenzo and Issey Miyake line the racks, which, in this case, are suspended wooden branches. Also included are up-and-coming international designers from Peru, Ghana and Morocco, as well as a mix of new and old-season pieces from young Indian labels such as NORBLACK NORWHITE, péro by Aneeth Arora and Eka. According to Karvinkop, vintage dressing, though increasingly popular, still evokes some scepticism from Indian buyers. “We have had people say: but these are old clothes, why should we get them? Some people do have this mental block about wearing second-hand clothes, but many others are excited to finally have good vintage options in Bombay. And I have tried to pick pieces with stories. For instance, we sold this bag that was used by Hollywood movie stars in the 1980s.”
All the vintage pieces are dated by decade—you can find anything from a 1970s Dior jacket to 1980s trousers by Christian Lacroix—and handwritten postcards hold little notes from younger designers. Karvinkop also stocks under-the-radar labels like Los Angeles-based Osei Duro, which works with Ghanaian artisans and textiles, and Knobbly Studio from Tel Aviv, which makes female-body-inspired handmade jewellery. Each selection is in keeping with Karvinkop’s learnings from the Indian market. “I think people in India like things that make them stand out, like a Dior dress, but a simple Kenzo shirt is a bit hard to sell. I also picked clothes that are wearable in this weather—for instance, this LA–based brand called Pari Desai is sending in some really cool swimsuits. I’m focusing on younger brands that are fun. Basically, names that the Instagram generation knows,” says Karvinkop. “We’ve also tried to keep the price range affordable. Just yesterday, this girl bought a Giorgio Armani 1980s blazer for Rs 8,000.”
The store’s modest art collection (also on sale) currently includes embroidered pieces from Arizona-based Afghani mixed-media artist Negine Jasmine’s Burkha Babes, and framed works by South Asian artist Ayqak Khan that depict women with free-growing body hair lounging by the sea. Karvinkop plans to expand the collection with an outdoor gallery space, and eventually set up a sister shop in New York to help Indian designers cast the net wider. An online store is also in the works, but much of No Borders’ charm lies in its location. The owner of Ferreira Home, who still lives downstairs, is likely to greet you on your way out, and maybe even offer a tour of his home.
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