Pernia Qureshi is an actor, stylist, classical dancer, and a fashion retailer. She launched her online store perniaspopupshop.com in 2012 as a luxury-shopping destination, the first of its kind in the country. There was one piece of garment that she sold on the website early on, which holds the record of being the largest selling piece even 5 years later. “Masaba Gupta was just starting out, I recognized her potential and got her on board. Around the time Sonam Kapoor wore a ‘hand print’ sari made by her. That sari sold out on my website almost immediately, and we still kept getting orders for it. Masaba had to keep printing it and only stopped because she couldn’t do it anymore. This pretty much started the trend of fun saris for young people,” Qureshi recounts.
This month Kapoor walked the ramp at Paris Couture Week for the British couture house, Ralph & Russo. For the actor who is known as one of the biggest fashion icons in Bollywood, things seem to have come a full circle this year with her also launching the fashion brand, Rheson along with her sister and stylist Rhea Kapoor. The Bollywood screen has always had an impact on what is worn on the streets, but more than ever today the high street is recognizing the role of the actor as the ‘style influencer.’
While Rheson has been in partnership with the brick and mortar set-up of Shoppers Stop, online retailers such as Myntra have partnered with Deepika Padukone and Hrithik Roshan and you can buy pieces from their brands, All About You and HRX respectively, on the website. As for Qureshi, she has a section called 'Celebrity Closet' on her website where you can with a click and buy exactly what your favourite star has been spotted in.
As the much-anticipated Imtiaz Ali production starring Shah Rukh Khan and Anushka Sharma, Jab Harry Met Sejal, releases next month, you will also simultaneously be able to purchase certain looks from the film on Koovs.com, which has tied up with the production to come up with a capsule collection. The collection will have a price range between Rs. 599 – Rs. 3499 on koovs.com. Although this is the first time that the ecommerce platform is doing something of this kind, Bollywood has been a big part of their retail journey.
“Koovs audience is the young aspirational, fashion conscious 20-something with an active social life and are influenced by global trends and stars, particularly Bollywood icons. For example our collaboration with red carpet designers Gauri and Nainika sold out in record time. Also when stars like Neha Sharma, Alia Bhatt and Sonakshi Sinha have worn Koovs, it has had a tremendous effect for the brand,” says Mary Turner, CEO.
TheLabelLife.com went a step ahead and launched an e-commerce platform with Malaika Arora, Bipasha Basu and Sussanne Khan as brand ambassadors and collection editors. While Khan uses her expertise as an interior designer to curate pieces for the home, Arora and Basu are the fashion experts. “These are real women who made it big on their own and have very distinct style personalities. We do a lot of customer research and realized that 60-70% of the organic traffic on our website comes from people because they want something that an actor or one of our celebrity editors wore. The shoppers get an idea on how to style the latest trends through them,” says Yashika Punjabee, co-founder.
According to Punjabee, the impact is such that after the release of Cocktail (2012), sundresses were the highest selling item. Recently bikinis have been flying off their virtual shelves because Priyanka Chopra, Monica Dogra etc have posted them on social media. “Medium and Large are our highest selling sizes in swimwear, which also shows us that women are becoming more comfortable in their bodies,” she adds.
But although actors get all credit for their influence on fashion, Qureshi says it is actually a mutually beneficial cycle. “Celebs need designers and stylists to make cool things for them; you can’t be a star without them. A lot of stylists check social media, and my website to know what is hot and then source from me. They all want to grab what is best for their celebrity first,” she adds.
Bollywood stars may not be the brain behind a trend, but at a time when the barrage of fashion information on social media only leaves you overwhelmed, they make for an accessible direct link between the fashion world and you.