To Replica Or Not To Replica: The Curious Case Of Bridal Shopping
BY The WMG Bride | 04 Jul, 2017 | 3208 views | 4 min read
As I sat inside my friends store in Chandni Chowk, sipping on iced lemonade to help me cool down from this torturous Delhi heat, I did my favorite thing in the world to do - observe people. There was that aunty who kept insisting that her daughter in law wear bright red while the daughter in law wanted pastels and sent pleading looks toward her sister to speak up , there was the sister of the bride who hated everything in the store even though the bride loved it ..... and then there was the third variety . The bride who came in and knew her mind- she wanted something unique , something different she said. A few minutes later she whipped out her phone with images of Sabya & Manish lehengas and referred to them as what she meant ..
At this point of time, my lemonade was all but ending, but I was curious to see what happened next to so I shifted ever so slightly towards her. Sure enough- one of the photos was of that gorgeous, quintessential red lehenga of a particular designer with two dupattas which Iv spotted in ever so many wedding submissions. "Accha yeh waaala, yeh toh humara hee hai madam- sabse unique piece hai. Aapki choice amazing hai" said the store owner (Im sure in his head he was rolling his eyes because literally ten minutes back he sold the same lehenga to another bride).
Then as I pretended to flick through my phone doing something important (but really, I was just obsessed with this bride) - she asked about whether labels of the designer could be replicated. She had family who wouldn't understand that she bought a replica , and she would have to tell them it's an original.
Here is what got my brain into an overdrive. It's a known fact that less than 0.01% of India can afford to buy designer bridal wear . So what does the rest of 99.99% (is that math right) of India do ? Their options are:
1.) Buy a knockoff, admit its a knockoff and wear it proudly.
2,) Buy a knockoff , pretend its an original
3.) Go to a lesser known store which may not have the same designs but would be original and unique.
4.) Buy an original piece from the knock off store.
Options 3 & 4 seem to be the least popular of the lot. I don't understand why that is though - is it because of the lack of information of affordable bridal wear designers or is it that these designers just don't exist? Even in knock off stores, there is a category of home grown designs which sometimes are really beautiful..so why is it that everyone seems to be obsessed over getting that one lehenga they saw online (most commonly on WedMeGood ) and wearing the exact same thing ? Whatever happened to originality and making sure your outfit is yours alone and its unique?
And let's say your dream lehenga really is that one designer lehenga you cant afford and you decide to go ahead and buy it from a store in Old Delhi. What's the shame in admitting it ? If your extended family is going to judge you for something as frivolous as that, then that speaks volumes about them, not you.
Just my two thoughts. I really think there need to be more bridal wear designers catering to this mid segment of girls who want to buy lehengas worth 40K- a lakh, and still want something unique , original and beautiful and I only hope that the coming years we see a crop of designers going the affordable route. But at the same time, as brides we need to move beyond getting obsessed with names and valuing originality too . Until that happens, our replica culture is going nowhere.
The WMG Bride