Personal Touch

Personal styling catches on as fashion-savvy clients seek professional help for general appearance and special occasions

Written by VIDYA PRABHU | Published:June 17, 2013 5:18 am

When Mumbai-based tax consultant Neha Shah got a promotion last year,she knew it meant more meetings with clients. The 30-year-old decided that she needed to revamp her look. “While representing my company,I needed to look good. I also wanted to dress well for several upcoming weddings,” she says. Neha reached out to Mansi Kapadia,a personal stylist and grooming consultant,for help. An increasing number of people are doing the same as appearance becomes important in a fashion-savvy world.

While celebrity styling is old news,personal styling is attracting more takers. The reasons vary — some styling queries are occasion-driven while others are about smart dressing in general,and maximising the impact of one’s wardrobe. Dhimaan Shah,who has founded the personal styling portal StyleCracker with fashion industry insider Archana Walavalkar,says,“The tricky part is picking the right look for you — that’s where we come in. We tell you what to buy and how to wear it,taking into account various factors such as your personality,body type,aspirations,social life,geographical limitations and budget.” His month-old website has stylists offering wardrobe solutions,as well as catering to event-based requirements such as weddings and holidays.

Mansi Kapadia,who operates a styling studio,Ra,in Bandra and has been in this field for over seven years,believes that image consulting has gained priority due to soaring competition in the corporate world and the growth of an independent working class with sizeable disposable income. “We have an array of services,from image makeovers to personal shopping for men and women ,” she says.

Delhi-based Priyanka Kanodia,who has worked as a head stylist with designer Tarun Tahiliani,has conducted styling classes in the city. She offers wardrobe consultation,personal shopping and event styling to clients. Delhi-based Binita Rawlley,too,is a personal shopper with NRIs and expats as clients. Another up-and-coming name is Mumbai’s MISU consultants,which has been founded by Mitali Sagar and Summiya Patni. The former,a graduate in fine arts,apparel merchandising and art history,joined hands with Patni,who holds a degree in jewellery design and manufacturing,in 2011. Besides offering styling services,they have an in-house fashion label,House of MISU,which produces clothes and accessories. Their USP,they say,is that they are “stylists for everyone”. “We wish to be considered as accessible,and accordingly,we have been using social media platforms to get the word out,” says Patni.

Often,stylists offer value-added services to attract business. At Kapadia’s studio,a client walks away with a 40 colour swatch wallet. Similarly,taking a make up or style consultation enables one to get a style booklet. StyleCracker has a fun personality test,which gives the team an insight into a client’s lifestyle choices. “It updates us on any reservations they may have,” says Walavalkar. The portal also has the event StyleCracker Borough,where they put together talented designers across price points and give them the opportunity to showcase their work. Another feature is their 24X7 access. “We believe that style should be available to people at any given point of time,” she says,adding that people from the US and Middle-East,too,seek their services .

This success has now spawned new initiatives. While Kapadia aims to interact with clients through newsletters,style/season updates and at least one workshop/exhibition a month,the currently women-centric StyleCracker is planning to launch its men’s section soon.

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