Even though the country is witnessing a growth in indigenous design, designers continue to find it difficult to break through. Stores like At-tin and Paper Boat Collective are coming up with ways to help them, says Sujatha Shankar Kumar
You are a designer, young or middling. You have a product and you believe in it. It’s gone through the grunge, the passion of creative twiddling and the excruciating pains at the workbench to realise it in full. You stumble over showing at a regular retail outlet where you may not quite fit the bill. Or you look at booking a stall in a trade exhibition, where hundreds of products compete with yours. Where else? From Mumbai to Goa, a new trend of collaborative shows has begun. The deceptive mix thrown together ostensibly is no lowbrow yard sale . These well-curated events that cater to a selective audience are a boon to bust the older laws of retail.
It is spring and talent is budding at At-tin’s Design Do to popularise design in Mumbai city and open it up to a wider audience. Aziz Kachwala and Mubina, his wife, started At-tin in 2013 with a wish all designers hold close to heart: a shop to show off their creative genes. Located in a warehouse building of Old Anjarwadi, earlier an automobile workshop, At-tin recalls the loft-style merchandising of world cities. In a country that is finally witnessing a growth of indigenous design in the market, designers still find it difficult to break the existing mind-set. Kachwala found niche studios and architects in Mumbai with interesting products not getting the attention.