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Be INDIAN, buy western



Amrita Gokani's Hum India is a successful concept. — Photo: K. Murali Kumar

IF ONLY Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana (D&G) knew how well their clothes blend with Ganeshas and M.F. Husains. But then D&G work out of Milan. So they'll probably never know Hum India, the shop on Church Street.

The place we're talking about lies right next to Bheemas, a popular Andhra eatery. Perhaps you can call it a boutique shop.But we've noticed that people go a little crazy once inside.

They go in empty-handed, and come out staggering under enormous packets. It's the shopping bug, you see!

And as you may have guessed by now, Hum India is a pretty successful concept, though the Church Street store is just three-months old.

Owned by Uday and Amrita Gokani, this one is actually their second store. "We began four years ago with a shop near Lalbagh," says Amrita. Remarkably svelte for a mother of three, she wears her labels well. You could, in fact, say she is the best advertisement for her own clothes.

Being in the couture business, the couple travel a lot to source clothes. "We have agreements with factories practically everywhere. And we get them in bulk. But we don't deal in damaged or reject stuff, but only the surplus lot. We then sell them here at a tenth of the original price," she takes pains to explain. And they stock "all known brands." Which is why shoppers love the store.

But why the name Hum India?' "It's from the first letters of my sons' names - Malav (13), Umang (11), and Hriman (7). Besides, we wanted a name with an Indian flavour," she says. Her children may be small but they help out too in a way. "Well, they do their shopping here!" she smiles.

All in all, things are good right now. The couple plan a branch in Mumbai and a franchisee in Kolkata. Besides, being in the intensely competitive Bangalore market is no hassle. "We sell global brands at Indian prices," is the store's USP.

Western clothes, says Amrita, are now cheaper than ethnic wear. "For Rs. 2,000 I can give you a whole wardrobe," she says.

She is happy that shoppers pick more adventurous clothes these days. "Age doesn't matter really. Recently, a lady over 70, picked up seven pairs of pants. She was going on her first cruise and wanted new clothes for each day of the trip!"

Oh, we did mention a Husain connection, didn't we? "I admire his work, that's all.

But Mr. Husain did wish us well when we told him about the new store," says Amrita.

Hum India is at G-01, The Pinnacle, 30/1, Church street, Phone: 51122550, e-mail humindia@vsnl.net.

DIVYA SREEDHARAN

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