Marwar - - Contents - Text Shruti To­mar

From the time it hit New Delhi’s fash­ion cir­cuit two years ago, Agashe is slowly turn­ing out to be fash­ion­istas’ lat­est shop­ping haven in the cap­i­tal. In con­ver­sa­tion with MAR­WAR, founder Sheena Agar­waal talks about mak­ing her multi-de­signer store a plat­form for de­sign­ers while of­fer­ing a fresh as­sort­ment of con­tem­po­rary wear.

From the time it hit New Delhi’s fash­ion cir­cuit two years ago, Agashe is slowly turn­ing out to be fash­ion­istas’ lat­est shop­ping haven in the cap­i­tal. In con­ver­sa­tion with MAR­WAR, founder Sheena Agar­waal talks about mak­ing her multi-de­signer store a plat­form for both bud­ding and es­tab­lished de­sign­ers while of­fer­ing a fresh as­sort­ment of con­tem­po­rary wear that is at­tuned to the city’s fash­ion tastes.

YOU KNOW YOU HAVE A GREAT BUSINESS idea when you have a con­cept that works, and more im­por­tantly, when it solves a prob­lem that's there or you have en­coun­tered per­son­ally. This is true in the case of New Delhi-based en­tre­pre­neur Sheena Agar­waal, who is the founder of multi-de­signer store ‘Agashe’. The be­gin­ning It all be­gan when Agar­waal was prep­ping for the big­gest event of her life—her wed­ding. At that time, she dis­cov­ered, some­what sur­pris­ingly, that there were no bri­dal en­sem­bles to suit her pal­ette as a young bride in New Delhi, the fash­ion cap­i­tal of the na­tion. Agar­waal says, “When I was shop­ping for my trousseau, I failed to find styles which were to my lik­ing in New Delhi. So I found my­self shop­ping a whole lot more in Mum­bai and Kolkata.” This ob­vi­ous gap in New Delhi’s fash­ion uni­verse prompted her to con­sider cre­at­ing a space which would stock ap­parel from not only es­tab­lished names but also up­com­ing de­sign­ers with stel­lar de­sign sen­si­bil­i­ties. And that is how Agar­waal’s brain­child, Agashe was born in March 2016, the name ‘Agashe’ be­ing a mix of the first three letters of her sur­name and name.

Ex­pe­ri­ence is the key to suc­cess

Af­ter com­plet­ing her grad­u­a­tion in HR from Christ Col­lege, Ben­galuru, Agar­waal stud­ied at Mu­dra In­sti­tute of Com­mu­ni­ca­tion Ahmed­abad (MICA). She then went on to be­come a ‘Reach Per­sonal Brand’ strate­gist and the di­rec­tor of Ur­ban­ista Im­age Con­sult­ing, which she founded in 2010 to pro­vide cus­tomised makeover so­lu­tions to clients, both at the in­di­vid­ual and cor­po­rate lev­els. But Agar­waal, ea­ger to make de­signer wear more ac­ces­si­ble to young and fash­ion­able women in New Delhi, soon branched out into the fash­ion space with Agashe. Speak­ing about how her prior pro­fes­sional back­ground helped her to­wards this goal, she says, “Ur­ban­ista gave me a deep in­sight into the women re­sid­ing in In­dia and their body im­age is­sues. I took in all of this and im­ple­mented it when set­ting up Agashe.”

One-stop fash­ion des­ti­na­tion

New Delhi is home to some of the best dressed mil­len­nial women in the coun­try,

who love to strut their stuff with a sense of style and aplomb. Agashe pri­mar­ily stocks ready-to-wear col­lec­tions, util­is­ing sen­su­ous sil­hou­ettes and cuts with a con­tem­po­rary ap­proach, to cater to the style sen­si­bil­i­ties of these women. The col­lec­tions are de­signed keep­ing in mind cus­tomers who ap­pre­ci­ate finely-cut gar­ments that are both lux­u­ri­ous and unique and also love to ex­per­i­ment. Agar­waal adds, “She could be a home­maker or a work­ing woman, but, re­gard­less, she has a strong style sense and is not afraid of stand­ing out.”

From de­sign to your wardrobe

Agar­waal’s main cri­te­ria for choos­ing de­sign­ers for Agashe are good de­sign sen­si­bil­i­ties and qual­ity prod­ucts. She and her team first work on un­der­stand­ing what their clients like through per­son­alised one-on-one con­sul­ta­tions, and then they se­lect de­sign­ers, whose cre­ations are to be dis­played at the store. Con­ve­niently lo­cated on MG Road, be­tween New Delhi and Gurugram, Agashe is the ul­ti­mate des­ti­na­tion for all things fash­ion­able, from en­sem­bles to ac­ces­sories, un­der one roof. Lit­tle won­der then that this multi-de­signer store is prov­ing to be every fash­ion­able woman’s dream store. It is the per­fect spot for all avid shop­pers in New Delhi to ex­plore new de­signs and browse through their favourite de­sign­ers’ lat­est of­fer­ings.

De­sign sen­si­bil­i­ties

For Agashe, Agar­waal has in ef­fect cher­ryp­icked de­sign­ers for their in­di­vid­ual unique­ness. Among them are Jayanti Reddy for her ex­clu­sive bri­dal wear; Huemn for sports luxe and a side of streetwear; Verb by Pallavi Singhee for free-spir­ited and avant-garde cloth­ing; Sa­mant Chauhan for In­dian tex­tiles and em­broi­deries; Masaba Gupta for quirky prints and elec­tric colours; and Nachiket Barve for in­tri­cate de­tail­ing on fab­rics and de­signs in­spired by na­ture, sci­ence, trav­els and func­tion­al­ity. Also in stock are cre­ations from up­com­ing and young de­sign­ers such as Divyam Me­hta and Ur­vashi Joneja. There­fore, no mat­ter what their age, size or fash­ion palate, at

Agashe, cus­tomers are sure to find some­thing to suit their whims and fan­cies. Asked about Mar­waris and their take on fash­ion, Agar­waal feels Mar­waris love both de­signer wear and ex­per­i­men­tal fash­ion. “Be it es­tab­lished names or up­com­ing la­bels, Mar­waris know it all, and are happy to in­vest in fash­ion. In fact, I think that they have al­ways adopted good fash­ion; they know the value of a de­signer out­fit,” she says. At Agashe, around 75 per cent of the clients are Mar­waris, in fact.

The dis­tin­guish­ing fac­tor

Agashe of­fers ev­ery­thing from Western wear to prêt and oc­ca­sional wear. Their lat­est ad­di­tion is a per­son­alised space ded­i­cated to trousseau and wed­ding wear, as well as cus­tomised bri­dal so­lu­tions. Agar­waal says, “We are known for our Indo-Western range that ev­ery­one wants to­day.”And as for their USP, it is their unique cu­ra­tion of never-seen-be­fore styles. “We also un­der­stand the value of money—one does not nec­es­sar­ily have to break the bank to buy a unique de­signer out­fit from us,” she adds.

Trend re­port 2018

With the fes­tive and wed­ding sea­sons around the cor­ner, there are sev­eral trends from de­sign­ers that are be­gin­ning to sur­face, leav­ing us ex­as­per­ated and more con­fused than ever. How­ever, Agar­waal is quick to come to the res­cue with her sage ad­vice. Speak­ing about the trends for this wed­ding sea­son, Agar­waal says, “Fringe [the dec­o­ra­tive trim on cloth­ing] is go­ing to be big this sea­son and so will sor­bet hues. Saris are go­ing to be back in a big way—opt for the draped or non-draped ver­sions.” She also pre­dicts that capes, which stood out as the favourite of celebri­ties last year, is all set to rule again this sea­son. “I urge peo­ple to ex­plore new styles and adopt fresh colours for the up­com­ing wed­ding sea­son,” adds Agar­waal.

A busi­ness­woman at heart

Agar­waal’s dream and de­sire to bring time­less gar­ments cre­ated by de­sign­ers from dif­fer­ent parts of In­dia to Del­hi­ites finds res­o­nance in Agashe. The fact that she has made her dream project a re­al­ity, speaks of her de­ter­mi­na­tion and hard work, not to men­tion her strong business sense. But Agar­waal at­tributes her sense of en­trepreneur­ship to her Mar­wari her­itage. She is of the firm be­lief that Mar­waris are ex­tremely en­ter­pris­ing in na­ture and that in it­self has helped her a whole lot. She also feels that it is the at­ti­tude with which Mar­waris do what they do that makes all the dif­fer­ence.

The way ahead

Speak­ing about her plans for the fu­ture, Agar­waal shares, “We def­i­nitely want to ex­pand to other cities, which is why we are cur­rently eval­u­at­ing part­ners who have shown in­ter­est in launch­ing in places be­yond New Delhi.” Con­sid­er­ing the waves that Agashe has been mak­ing in New Delhi’s fash­ion scene ever since its in­cep­tion, why not also sell on­line! Here too, Agashe has a pres­ence. “We re­tail a whole lot through What­sApp and In­sta­gram. For now, this works just fine for us. But who knows what the years ahead might have in store for us— maybe a web­site? Only time will tell,” Agar­waal signs off.

Sheena Agar­waal

Left: An en­sem­ble by de­signer Mrunalini Rao, avail­able at Agashe Be­low: An en­sem­ble from de­signer Pooja Shroff's fes­tive col­lec­tion, avail­able at Agashe

Top left: Bri­dal and trousseau wear by Megha & Ji­gar, avail­able at Agashe Top right: Cel­e­brated blog­ger Shreya Kalra with her brides­maids in en­sem­bles by Agashe

Top left: The newly cre­ated sec­tion for brides at Agashe Top right: A shot from the 'Agashe Fire­crack­ers' cam­paign show­ing women who have ex­celled in their re­spec­tive fields

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