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Not very long back, government run stores selling handloom fabrics were the favourite haunts of the wives of busy Ministers', culture curious NRIs. But cotton and handloom brands like FabIndia, Suvasa and Anokhi, which would subsequently enter the Chandigarh market, spelt stiff for these emporiums. It was only a matter of time before they had to innovate. Stylised windows to attract young shopaholics and an image makeover, and you have refreshed versions of shops like Phulkari, Khadi and the chic, 1469, a store that sells the idea of Punjab through merchandise.
Nestled in Sector 17, 1469 has redefined the way Punjabis perceive their own culture. In a revolution of sorts, the store has picked traditional things like old utensils, given phulkari a fashionable edge and accesorised basic things like kanga, kara and kirpan.
Starting at Rs 400, the stuff here, from jewellery, funky tees printed in Punjabi to juttis and pottery are light on the pocket. "We had to re-strategise as 45 per cent of the new customers are students," says Rajbir Sandhu, store manager at 1469. From handcrafted leather bags, embroidered juttis and odhnis to jewellery, art work etc, the new and improved stores have it all.
Says T.P. Gupta, manager at Khadi in Sector 22, "Keeping in sync with current trends, we've added a section of designer khadi. We had to harness this client base because Chandigarh is full of students and young corporates."
If you are a homemaker, try the reloaded Phulkari store in Sector 17. The place is a magnet for the best in phulkari hand carved tables, jewellery boxes, cutlery, silver-ware etc. Scoot to Rajasthan Emporium in Sector 17, it's upped its stock with lac jewelry, zinc jewellery, baatik kurtas and much more. And the prices are as low as Rs. 200.
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