What makes Elahe one of the most popular fashion destinations in Hyderabad? Find out here
Back in the ’90s, Elahe was one of the few outlets that took a giant leap forward to change the city’s fashion scene. Why? That’s because it opened doors to the biggest designers across India back when bespoke fashion business was unheard of here. Now, the iconic Banjara Hills outlet that’s celebrating the 20th anniversary opened its second branch in Kolkata, and none other than celebrity designer Sabyasachi Mukherjee was there to unveil it with the owners Smita and Rajiv Shroff. “Launching in Kolkata was like a cherry on the cake for the year that we are celebrating the 20th anniversary! The whole year has been like a giant wave of nostalgia where the designers have come forward and extended their support,” says Smita, when we met her at her store. She reminisces about how she started without any database or prior knowledge in business or fashion.
However, what she did possess was an unmatched eye for curation and confidence that she could shape the fashion landscape of the city. “There’s not been a single fashion week in Delhi that I’ve missed out in 20 years, so around 40 of them. Even FDCI (Fashion Design Council Of India) knows that’s my record,” shares the founder, adding that over the years, she has forged strong bonds with several designers, which is what she values the most.
During a celebratory pop-up held a few months ago at Elahe Urban — their second store in the city that houses minimal and anti-couture ensembles —they featured around 25 designers like Anupamaa Dayal, Asmita Marwa, Priyadarshini Rao, Rosalind Pereira’s brand Mayabazaar and luxury bag maker Vipul Shah. There was a video clip on Elahe’s Instagram account, where Sabyasachi Mukherjee says, “When I started around 20 years ago and I sold clothes out of the bedroom, a very enterprising husband and wife (Rajiv and Smita) took my clothes and stocked Sabyasachi in Hyderabad. You guys are the wind beneath my wings.” That’s certainly high praise coming from Sabyasachi.
What makes Elahe so different is that Smita is all about moving with the times. “At the right time, we realised that we need to get the millennials to buy from us. I didn’t want to confuse my clients with a Chola or Eka, which is minimal, anti-fit and no-embroidery. So we wanted an outlet close by so our customers can go to both, hence Elahe Urban was born,” says Smita, who has hosted and curated from some of the biggest names over the years such as Rohit Bal, Raghavendra Rathore, Rajesh Pratap Singh, Krishna Mehta, Wendell Rodericks, Ashish Soni, Rohit Gandhi and of course, Sabyasachi.