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Home / Culture / Style / Popular pop-up Shuffling Suitcases opens a flagship store in Calcutta

Popular pop-up Shuffling Suitcases opens a flagship store in Calcutta

The Telegraph chats with the spunky entrepreneur, Devyani, who is carrying the beacon of sustainable fashion across Indian cities and even beyond borders

Farah Khatoon   |   Published 07.09.22, 03:00 AM

In 2017, Delhi-based Devyani Kapoor chose Calcutta to kick-start her brand Shuffling Suitcases. And five years later, the city is her chosen destination for her maiden flagship store. Situated at Purna Das Road, off Southern Avenue, the 1,200sq ft store is housed in an old Calcutta house with high ceiling and signature red floor. Warm and welcoming, the space is lifted with latest collections from sustainable homegrown labels that range from apparels and shoes to jewellery and personal care brands. The Telegraph caught up with the spunky entrepreneur, Devyani, who is carrying the beacon of sustainable fashion across Indian cities and even beyond borders, with her eclectic fashion and lifestyle pop-up. Read on:

In the last five years Shuffling Suitcases has become a household name amongst fashionistas. Tell us how it all began?

I had no connection with Calcutta; I am an out and out Punjabi girl. My mentor was from Calcutta and she used to talk fondly of the city. And it was through books and films that I knew Calcutta. After her demise, I desired to visit the city. In 2015 I bought a one-way ticket and came here and the city became mine. Even after I was back in Delhi, I would find reasons to come back. Shuffling Suitcases stemmed from my desire to bring sustainability to the forefront and make it mainstream. My first ever edit was from Calcutta; and five years later we completed the circle and launched our flagship store in Calcutta.

I am a journalist by degree and when I did blogging, I realised that there were two kinds of brands — fast fashion and slow fashion — and that while one segment was not transparent the other was quite open. I was bent towards working with smaller brands who were more transparent and doing grassroot-level work. I wanted to see if I can influence people in the way they shop. That started happening and gave birth to Shuffling Suitcases.

From an offline set-up to online and now a brick-and-mortar store. What led to the idea of a permanent address in Calcutta?

Why not Calcutta. It’s been the biggest market for me. Around 80 per cent traction of the domestic consumers in my e-commerce website comes from West Bengal. I came to Calcutta because people have accepted me with arms wide open.

What are your memories of the first pop-up in Calcutta?

I remember I took a 300-year-old house with a rickety lift for my first pop-up. I was expecting around 70-80 people and to my surprise the footfall was around 2,500. After that we have been to Singapore, Europe, Sri Lanka and this year we are planning to go to Dubai.

Why did you choose an old house and not a new store?

I had this dream of a lived-in feeling in an old house and not a showroom. And this place is done up in that way. We are trying to build in conversation and experience. The decor is minimal and it goes with the theme of sustainability. The table, chairs and even lights are all sustainable and for sale.

How often does the stock change given that it is a multi-designer store?

Every month Calcutta will have 15 new brands on offer. It makes us equal to fast fashion brands in a way but we are using our slow fashion wisely and bringing in new brands.

How challenging will that be?

It is a very big challenge but thanks to the five years of R&D that we did, we now have a pool of brands. We have no dearth of good sustainable brands in our country and we have the calendars of the brands marked.

Where next?

Six months later we will go to Gurgaon followed by other cities. Singapore happens to us next year and then 2023 the USA.

Will you stop the pop-op?

Pop-up is where my heart and soul lies, so we will not stop. That is another ball game of two-day excitement.

Where: Ground Floor, P591 Purna Das Road, near Azad Hind Dhaba

Timings: 11am to 8pm

Brands to look out this month

  • In jewellery

Aarjavee, Amalgam and Kassa

  •  Skincare

Jugni

  •  Shoes

Sole Stories, Preet Kaur

  •  Ceramics

Jazba

  •  Clothing

Kavya Singh Kundu, Summer House

  •  Bags

Etcetra

This statement piece with a tiger motif from Amalgam, a homegrown label, is a stunner

Face mists, body butter and lotions by Jugni, an ethical and eco-friendly brand

The footwear edit features some spunky slip-ons from Sole Stories and Preet Kaur

This gorgeous red jamdani dress by Surabhi Raj is a perfect pick for pandal hopping if you are looking for something comfortable, breezy and stylish

A vegan and cruelty-free brand, Disguise Cosmetics’ range includes satin matte lipstick loaded with the nourishments of essential oil and natural ingredients

The collection also includes luxury menswear and this bathing robe with ditsy prints by Indore-based Jazba stood out from their collection of printed shirts in earthy notes

If you are looking for something floral then check out this hot-seller from Calcutta-based label Arte-Alter

The arm candies section exuded a boho-chic vibe thanks to the colourful bags by Etcetra

Pictures: Rashbehari Das



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