By Shadan Muneer, Freelance Journalist
You can have anything you want in life if you dress for it,” said American fashion icon Edith Head and anything you wish to have in fashion, the ‘go to’ place in Mysuru is Meena Bazaar. Yes, you read it right. Once known only for its blingy outfits and glitzy trinkets, it is today fast becoming a shoppers’ paradise for all things chic. A little known fact is that not only does Meena Bazaar have the latest street fashion but it is also a fast emerging hot-spot for customised outfits. You get almost everything here — to eat, to sport and to flaunt.
Always buzzing with activity, Meena Bazaar is frequented by local boutique owners, designers and college-goers who throng the place for both fabrics and accessories that add extra glamour to their outfits. From laces to sequence, from borders to beads, from Zardosi to Swarovski — everything is available in different varieties at Meena Bazaar. Indo-Western Gowns, the latest trend can be customised here to make one look like a celebrity. Teeming with shoppers all-round the year, Meena Bazaar comes alive in the month of Ramzan and Bakrid. During Ramzan, it is 24×7 market and you enter the street any time, it is full with vendors crying out to grab your attention with a lot of tempting discounts and shoppers bargaining for that best buy.
Shafiq-ur-Rehman, who specialises in making western gowns, says he gets a lot of orders where women walk in with the picture of gowns designed by famous fashion designers and ask him to do a similar design for them. “Ghagra blouses and long gowns are in great demand for which I charge around Rs.1,200,” he says.
A huge fan of daily soaps and its trends, Ayesha Khannum visits the street for getting replicas of dresses worn by her favourite television stars. She was spotted at Afzal Designers in Meena Bazaar who charges between Rs. 1,200 – Rs. 1,800 for spinning off designer replicas.
Abdul Ghaffar, who owns Sagar Traders, says he gets all kinds of customers from boutique owners to tailors, from housewives to store owners who shop for laces, borders and zaris to add the extra glitz to their outfits. They also shop for tapka, sali, moti, sequence which are required for embroidery and artificial jewellery making.
He stocks up all the trendy stuff ahead of festive seasons and purchases goods from Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkata. The price ranges from Re.1 and could go up to thousands of rupees depending on the quality.
Prathima, a fashion designer from Kodagu says she visits Mysuru every month to shop for laces at Meena Bazaar to make her traditional Kodava bridal veils called ‘Muskoli’ and ‘Vastra’.
Embroidery always adds that extra style to any outfit and at Meena Bazaar one can find multiple embroidery designers who are very affordable. Basheer Ahmed of High Fashion is a handwork embroidery specialist. He says people usually get embroidery done for their blouses for which he charges anywhere between Rs. 800 and Rs. 3,000. He also says since his work is very delicate, it requires a lot of concentration to complete a design.
A casual walk along the over 2.5 kilometre road from Savoy Chowk till the City Crime Branch Office (the exact location of Meena Bazaar) is the most refreshing and pleasurable experience for shopaholics.
During Ramzan the already busy street gets spruced up with lights, festive decor and Eid shoppers. With only a few days of the Holy Month of fasting left, the entire stretch on Sawday Road is now abuzz with people who head straight to Meena Bazaar to shop for clothes and accessories, salwar suits and burqas being most shopped for.
Burqa or Abaya, the outer garment worn by Muslim women to cover themselves in public, is available in different styles and colours. Mohammad Usman, who owns a Burqa shop since decades, says people now want varieties and colour in Abayas and the price ranges from Rs. 500 up to a few thousands of rupees. They are now available in grey, navy blue, maroons apart from the regular black.
“Ten years ago it was difficult to find an Abaya which was both modest and trendy. Now they are available in different styles too. I have Kaftani and Afghani styles so I am picking a Cape style Burqa for now which is the hot favourite” says Asma Sharif, a housewife who was spotted shopping at Nida Store.
A hub for high-voltage business, Meena Bazaar is famous for chain-shopping or link-shopping where men and women match their clothes already purchased with shimmering bangles, colourful accessories including vanity bags, goggles, colourful belts, bracelets, pyjamas and trinkets. Accessories with flashy colours are the most sought-after ones. The brighter the colour, the more you make your presence felt — scarlet reds, parrot greens and bright yellows.
Fancy net dupattas and Karachi work designs are in great demand, says Arif Sait, owner of an apparel store. “Every year before Eid, I come to Meena Bazaar for shopping and I get things of my choice at a reasonable rate and I can easily find shoes and clutches to match my outfit,” says Tabassum, a teacher by profession.
“I usually shop on D. Devaraja Urs Road but I come here to shop for bangles and mehndi,” says Sania Rafiq, a college-goer.
So if you are in need for a fresher’s party gown or the latest salwar for Eid, head straight to the Fashion Street of Mysuru.