Chandni Chowk, a part of old Delhi brimming with tropes of Indian heritage is a place that offers the most loved and unmatched shopping experience for shoppers across the country. Sunny Kapoor is an Indian fashion entrepreneur who runs a leading wedding wear business in the heart of Chandni Chowk in Delhi. What was started by his father Mr Suresh Kapoor in 1984 (when he came to Delhi from Punjab amidst turbulent times for Punjabis and Sikhs in the country), in a store as small as 100 square feet has today evolved into Meenakshi Creations. Chandni Chowk’s leading wedding wear brand that boasts an area of 6000 square feet in the fashion hub.
Speaking to ABPL, Sunny Kapoor said, “Our business offers women’s ethnic and fusion wear. Our primary clientele is upwardly mobile, middle and upper middle class. Our buyers hold high aesthetic values and aspirations, but still consider value for money as a very important aspect.”
When Kapoor’s father began Meenakshi Creations, he had limited exposure to women's ethnic wear and fusion wear. He personally sat down with the karigars (weavers) to draft designs and over the years, the aesthetics evolved ten-fold and today, their brand is a name to reckon with in terms of fashion.
The Bollywood influence
Indians are obsessed with weddings and traditionally believe in saving wealth for their big day. When it comes to shopping for wedding wear, people have aspirations of wearing a designer label. But then at the same time, whether or not you can afford something you would still want to wear something similar and save as much money as possible.
Kapoor said, “I've been in this industry for almost two decades now. This is something that I always keep telling future brides to be even when I come across them. In wedding shopping, what really matters is what suits you best. A bride must decide which occasion she's looking for, rather than what's trendy, but most of the time these lines get blurred and trends and the fashion industry tend to confuse these two terms. So what's trendy and what a Kiara Advani or Alia Bhatt are wearing, might not be the best fit for your function or for your personality or for your occasion.
“Style is very personal. And the best thing about shopping in Chandni Chowk, especially shopping with us is that we custom-make things for the client. So it's more of initial 10 minutes going understand understanding what the client is actually looking for and what their personality is more about. And then finding them a custom solution or if it is not there, then customising the design to suit them.”
The fashion entrepreneur mentioned that most of the designers in India do not customise outfits for brides, and some even end up borderline body shaming in this practice of selling only a-particualr size of clothing only. “That's a subtle way of saying that your body type is, we don't cater to your body type or we don't get to do a certain colour or a certain class,” he said.
Paradigm shift post-Covid
Sunny feels fashion is more intuitive. His store in Chandni Chowk at any given point of time houses over 2000 art designs ranging from engagement outfits, and shararas to lehngas, ancillary clothes, sarees and more.
Speaking about the paradigm shift in fashion choices in wedding wear post the pandemic, Sunny explained that now the guest lists have become smaller, therefore a family that would not only shop for the bride but also purchase for the family, is now focusing only on the bride’s outfits. What has also become the trend of the season is that brides want to replicate the looks of Bollywood actresses from their weddings, irrespective of the fact whether that look would suit them or not. Commenting on this, Sunny suggested that our choices shouldn't be limited to personal perception.
He explained, “But I think it is heavily influenced. And I guess that has more to do with the exposure. When it comes to NRI customers, because most of the people are wearing western wear on a routine, they are perhaps more influenced by Bollywood when it comes to what they're exposed to. We have so many clients from the UK, Canada, US, and Dubai giving us a call.”
Six months in advance
Meenakshi Creations schedule a video call with brides to be across the globe and guides them through the process with the best possible outfits for them. Kapoor and his father have been resorting to a unique technique that many big designer labels haven’t cracked in India, by creating a dummy outfit out of a different - lighter fabric to suit the body of the bride, which they believe helps them create a better fitted bridal outfit for a bride than the usual obsolete methods.
In the era of brides going in for non-conventional colours like ivory, lilac and pink for their big day, Sunny said that even today, 50% of the brides still go for traditional shades of red or coral. “Every woman has a certain mental image of how she wants to look on her wedding day. No matter what trends are, at the end of the day, it's about closing your eyes and thinking okay, I have to be in a certain way.”
When asked how the diaspora can shop at Meenakshi Creations, Kapoor mentioned that they can get in touch with his team via Instagram and then there’ll be a series of video calls and discussions to reach the final stage of creating the outfit. Sunny said that if a bride wants to have a hassle-free experience buying her wedding dress, it’d be best to get in touch at least 3-6 months before the wedding.