Spotlight Series: Presenting ‘Kumkum’ Indian Attire

I often get asked a variation of the following question, “Where is the best place to buy Indian clothes such as sarees, suits, lehengas etc.?” Of course, the correct answer to this question is that there is a variety of establishments and designers in London/England to purchase a great Asian outfit, depending on your needs and tastes.

This line of enquiry prompted me to think that perhaps a ‘spotlight series’ on various retailers/vendors/brands who specialise in Asian clothes and jewellery would prove to be a useful feature for my readers. My aim to feature a variety of Asian clothes/jewellery retailers and present a  snapshot summary of their vision, the products they sell, as well as their customer service policies. This type of feature would provide readers with exposure to multiple vendors that they may not have encountered in the past.

The first company I am featuring in this series is KumKum:

I have looked booked three Kumkum outfits in this post and styled them in the way that I would enjoy wearing these lovely clothes:

Black ‘ready stitched’ embroidered saree: This is the quintessential ‘works anytime for anything’ black saree. The black embroidery is exquisite and the drape lovely.  It’s zippered on the side, so the total time to put it on was under 3 minutes  – this feat alone is exceptional and added to my appreciation of this saree. The saree needed nothing more than some big earrings, a statement ring and some red lipstick. Given that it is winter and wearing a saree always poses the ‘how to stay warm’ question – I have paired it with my black leather jacket. I love the idea of a black leather jacket with a striking black saree, and I think the single colour silhouette works exceptionally well here. My husband said I look like the Punjabi version of the Scottish Widows advert.

Pink lace ‘ready stitched’ saree: Wearing this delicate lace saree with small stone embellishments, I had visions of wafting along a gorgeous lawn attending a chic spring garden party – till the freezing weather brought me back to earth!  I have styled the saree with classic pearls that I think work perfectly with the onion pink lace. I love this embellished blouse, that is both stylish and neutral enough to compliment many an Indian outfit.  My favourite part of the styling is my vintage embroidered pearl handbag that used to belong to my grandmother.

Sky blue net lehenga: This gorgeous lehenga falls firmly in the camp of what I like to call ‘happy clothes’ – clothes that put a smile on your face once you have them on. I have paired it with the same embellished blouse from above (to demonstrate the flexibility of this blouse) and some lovely stone earrings.  I wore this lehenga with flat juttis, and I appreciated just how comfortable this ensemble was to move around in.

Below are details of Kumkum in their own words:

What is your collective vision behind Kumkum? Our vision at KumKum is to be a Design House in London for Indian bridal and occasionwear, known for its design aesthetics. The finish and quality of our garments are exemplary and it does not cost the earth! The customer must be happy and that’s when we rest.

In your opinion, what are your USP/differentiating factors that make Kumkum stand out from the crowd? KumKum brings a collection of affordable fashion that is on-trend with elegant design sensibilities. Superior quality reflects in each element of our designs – be the fabric, structure, embroidery or the finishing. We provide a bespoke service for all garments. We have our own design team in New Delhi to overlook all elements of production. We provide attention to detail and dedicated customer service.
What are the clothing items Kumkum specializes in? A wide range of trendy Indian occasion wear and bridal couture. We have Lehengas, Sharara, Anarkali, Tailored draped Saris, Hand woven sarees and Palazzo suits. Men’s wear includes kurta pyjama and bundi sets in silk. We also have a curated collection of fine costume jewellery to complete the ensemble. Our clients are women and men who love to dress well and enjoy wearing good quality silhouettes.
Can you please explain your customer service policy for my readers – including ordering, delivery and returns? At present, we operate out of Wimbledon and Teddington by appointment. We also host home events regularly at both locations. Every meeting with a new customer entails a walk through of designs as per their need and occasion. We encourage customers to try out clothes so that they also get a feel of colour and styles. For Bridal wear and other big occasions, we also work out mood boards which capture the look in the context of the setting of the wedding.
One can buy off the rack or order bespoke with additional customised changes. We book orders with 50 % advance on confirmation and settle the balance on delivery
As of present no returns are allowed once purchased, as all clothes are tried and seen prior to purchase (we are not yet online).
On bespoke orders, the garment is made to order and fitted to size.
Clothes purchased off the rack need to be altered by the customers.
Contact details:
+44 7983 863852
+44 7448030545
Facebook Page: Kumkum (click here)

A while ago, Kumkum got in touch to ask if I could provide some in-person personal styling tips at one of their open houses.  I found them to be very personable and I was highly impressed with the time they took with their customers to ensure that they understood the needs of the buyer and provided a product that would be exemplary. For the record, I also found their ready stitched sarees were cut and pleated beautifully – the drape was spot on! If you enjoy clothes that are constructed with attention to detail and a quality finish – these are your ladies.

I hope that you have enjoyed getting to know more about Kumkum in my Spotlight Series.  Thank you for reading Isha’s Verdict and I look forward to featuring other brands in the months to come.

Traditional Wear: My Five Rules for Effective ‘Mixing and Matching’

I have long advocated the idea of ‘mix and match’ on this blog – especially with Indian attire that never seems to get the wear it deserves.  Now I have friends who are happy to admit in the spirit of fashion honesty, that while mix and match is a great sounding idea to espouse – it is actually much harder to pull off in a desirable manner. I absolutely agree with this sentiment and my reply to them is always along the following lines.

‘Mix and match’ is an established fashion principle.  However, like most well-founded principles, there are some rules that help execute the look more effectively:

  1. Aim for an overall cohesive look – Regardless of what I am mixing and matching, I try and aim for an overall coordinated effect.  This helps tie the various elements of the outfit together to deliver a ‘sharp’ fashion look that highlights your fashion prowess.
  2. Complimentary or clashing colours – Either way, the combination of colours in your outfit should be pleasing to your eye.  If you look in the mirror and feel that these colours have nothing in common, trust your gut instinct and rework the outfit.
  3. Use different textures – Often a mixture of textures works wonders.  For example, silk and lace and linen and cotton are some of my favorite mix and match combinations.
  4. Single colour in varying shades – Creating a fashion look with a small variation in colour tone is a fabulously simple yet sophisticated look in my opinion. Different shades of grey and different shades of pink are great options to try.
  5. Combine patterns and prints – combining geometric patterns with floral prints is a key mix and match option.  I have never gone wrong with combing a striped blouse with a floral bottom – a nice black and white striped blouse is a staple in my wardrobe to be worn with a variety of combinations throughout the year.

The outfit in this lookbook is a true ‘mix and match’ ensemble that I loved wearing.  I bought this lehenga two years ago and I have featured it on this blog previously during Diwali time – Diwali Celebrations: In A Yellow And Pink Kurta And Cream and Gold Skirt. The green blouse is a recent delivery that a fabulous friend got me from Mumbai when I mentioned to her I was in need of one – it pays to know your ready-made Indian blouse size! The pièce de résistance of this look is the gorgeous jewellery set by Toraan deign. This set is everything I love about Indian jewellery – intricate in design and regal in look.  I love this entire look from head to toe as it caters to the passionate love I have for ethnic Indian outfits.  I have added some flowers in my hair to finish off a great summery ethnic ‘mix and matct’ look that would work for a vareity of occasions.

I hope you enjoy this lookbook and I would love to hear your feedback.  Have a great week ahead and thank you so much for visiting my blog.

Clothes and accessories:

Indian Jewellery Set – Toraan design £150 (please email them about this set)

Lehenga – The Silk Tree

Dupatta – The Silk Tree

Blouse – Friend – Santa Cruz Market Mumbai

 

‘Rescue Mission Series’: How I Updated My Lehenga for Diwali (for £20)

This is the lehenga and dupatta I wore to my wedding Sangeet many years ago (with a different blouse that time has not treated very well).  I was going through a ‘less is more’ phase during that time in my ‘fashion life’ and pale colours and minimal embellishments were my clothes of choice.  How time changes us – I think if I was to get married today I would be wearing Sabyasachi, Anu Modi and Ritu Kumar to name just a few.  The only restraint I would be able to show is restraining myself from putting them all on together! Of course, that would just be for the engagement…

Despite my preferences for wedding attire changing from ‘less is more’ to ‘more is more’  – I had a great Sangeet and this lehenga rightfully holds the sentimental values of the start of a new life.  It is a pretty lehenga that radiates good vibes and I enjoy wearing it ever so often. This Diwali, I thought it is a great time for a ‘rescue mission’ of this lehenga to enable me to wear it in a more casual fashion avatar than I have done previously.

I was hunting for an embellished top to wear with this lehenga when I found this pretty beaded crop top, with gorgeous fringing, for just £20 online at ASOS.  While this may not be a traditional blouse, it is a statement top that adds a different dimension to the overall look and gives me a chance to rescue this lehenga from the confines of my wardrobe in a quick and easy manner.  There are so many pretty crop tops available on the high street that pair well with Indian clothes.  Of course, a made to measure blouse or top is always a great idea that looks fabulous.  However, sometimes when the situation dictates minimal time and effort – a crop top from the high street is a wonderful alternative.

I hope you enjoy this lookbook and thank you for visiting my blog.  Have a great weekend and I hope you get to enjoy some pre-Diwali festivities in the next few days!

Clothes and Accessories:

Blouse – ASOS (£20)

Earrings – Ishariya

Designer Lookbook: VIVA-LUXE for Brown Girl Magazine

I recently had the pleasure of working with VIVA-LUXE, an on-line Asian Designer-Wear clothing brand, for a sponsored article in Brown Girl Magazine. I spoke with the Co-Founder oF VIVA-LUXE Mr. Jay Chawla, about their vision, their offerings and what makes them stand out from the crowd. Please read the full Brown Girl Magazine article below for what he had to say:

Shopping South Asian Wear Just Got a Whole Lot Easier With UK’s Fashion Brand Viva-Luxe

South-Asian fashion holds a very special place in my heart and in my wardrobe. I am a desi fashion blogger who loves wearing Indian clothes so much that I devote an entire section of this blog to look booking ethnic fashion on a regular basis. As a woman of Indian origin, a fashion lover and an online shopping enthusiast, I am constantly on the hunt for online sources of curated South-Asian fashion.

So, as a woman who enjoys the latest trends and designs in South-Asian clothes, what am I looking for when I go online to purchase? I want to browse the latest designs by a variety of talented designers, I want to see quality fabrics and trimmings, I want to be able to have them delivered to my home hassle-free and I want to be able to buy them without breaking the bank.  In addition, I want them made-to-measure so that fit is not an issue and last but not least, in the event that there is a problem, I want to be able to talk to someone about it.  In a nutshell, I want variety, quality, accessibility, affordability topped off with excellent customer service.

Now, I admit that this is a big ask but I think it’s exactly what the South Asian online fashion market is crying out for.  VIVA-LUXE is an e-commerce platform for outstanding South-Asian fashion that ticks all the boxes!

Below are some photographs that were taken with me wearing outfits from various designers carried by VIVA-LUXE.  I hope you enjoy the lookbook and thank you so much for visiting Isha’s Verdict.

These pictures were taken by my photographer – Camera & I – website www.cameraandi.com and instagram @camera.and.i

Websites:

www.vivaluxe.com

www.browngirlmagazine.com

www.cameraandi.com

Indian Fashion: Colourful Blouse With a Cream and Gold Skirt

Happy Saturday my dear readers! The warm weather is propelling us towards those most glorious of social celebrations – summer weddings! Living in the UK, Indian summer weddings when the weather is warm, the countryside resplendent and all the young ones are off school, are always such great fun. Unfortunately, I must admit that I am currently not invited to any summer weddings; however, I do have the necessary wardrobe incase the status quo was to suddenly change!

Today, I am lookbooking an outfit that I would love to wear to an Indian summer wedding.  I have lookbooked this lehenga before in an earlier post (Diwali Celebrations: In A Yellow And Pink Kurta And Cream and Gold Skirt) with a different kurta. This time I have paired my versatile cream and gold lehenga with a colourful embroidered blouse and two different dupattas. What I love about this blouse/koti is that is works equally well as a choli, sari blouse or as a small vest worn on top of a kurta.

I love the idea of ‘mix and match’ Indian fashion that allows us to get the maximum wear out of our Indian clothes.  This outfit is easy to wear, easy to move around in and easy on the eye; all of which would work fabulously well for that Indian summer wedding that I have not been invited to!

I hope you like this outfit and have a fabulous weekend. Thank you for visiting my blog and please tell a friend to visit if you think they would enjoy it as well.

(Clothes and Accessories: Outfit – The Silk Tree (Contact: darshan@thesilktree.in, Instagram: @the_silk_tree)

My 100th Blog Post As An Over Forty Fashion Blogger: ‘Rescue Mission’ Vintage Blouse

This is my 100th blog post.  I must admit, I have surpassed my own expectations of my ability to maintain the consistency of my postings. Procrastination has been a lifelong uninvited companion and I was not sure at the start of this blogging endeavor if I would be able to escape its evil clutches on my time management skills. After some prolonged self analysis (approximately 5 minutes as I have children),  I realized why I have been able to reach this 100th post without much agony and drama.  It’s as simple as it sounds –  when you are enjoying what you do it really does become easier to continue.  I thoroughly enjoy fashion and doing this blog has been a pleasure and a fabulous learning experience.

So what have I learned from doing the previous 99 posts?  Below are the top five observations I have made since I decided to become an over forty fashion blogger:

  1. Fashion is not an age dependent variable but rather an age independent constant.  Age has definitely not diminished my passion for fashion.  If anything, it has honed my fashion sensibilities and I have a much better idea of what I enjoy wearing today than I ever did 20 years ago.
  2. Fashion blogging is great fun – I am spending more money on clothes than ever before but apparently as long as I turn my purchases into content – I am doing something worthy and deserving of kudos! Long may it continue…
  3. I have gone through more makeup in creating these 100 posts than I went thorough in my entire life before becoming a fashion blogger.  As a result, I am discovering the art of makeup, being exposed to new weird and wonderful products and I have a new found respect for makeup artists!
  4. 2016 is truly a great time to be a woman.  I can be a professional, a wife, a parent, a daughter and an over forty blogger all at once. I am not sure any generation previously was afforded the opportunities and support that is available to women in our generation.
  5. I own clothes that are older than some of the younger fashion bloggers that I follow. Clothes, like life, really do come full circle.

Today, I am lookbooking a different kind of rescue mission outfit.  We were visiting  one of husband’s favorite cousins in Kolkata and knowing me as well as she does – she took me shopping.  After exploring some beautiful sari shops we ended up at a lovely clothes and fabric shop as the last stop of the day.  As I wandered around the shop aimlessly,  I spotted a large basket in the corner with some lovely fabrics nestled in its confines.  Upon closer inspection, the basket contained some beautiful old blouses that were unlike anything I had owned before.  I inquired about them and the shop assistant told me that they were vintage blouses that they had acquired and more importantly, they were for sale.  Given the ridiculously cheap price tag on these items, I had to have them and I bought two of the lovely pieces immediately. After a good dry cleaning, I asked my mother on her next trip to India to get me a lehenga made to wear with this ‘rescue mission’ vintage blouse.  This is the creation she came back with and it surpassed my expectations! I love the simplicity and colour of this outfit. The crowning touch of the ensemble is the border of the lehenga that she has added to the back of the blouse to create a back strap and visually tie the outfit together. I wore this outfit to a sangeet (wedding function) recently and I received many compliments on this blouse that I rescued from the obscurity of the corner basket in that shop in Kolkata.

I hope you enjoy this look and thank you for so much reading.  I also wanted to extend a big thank you for the support that you have provided in helping me reach my 100th post on Isha’s Verdict.

Save

Save