My Lesson from Audit Your Closet

I’ve always been interested in fashion and technology. It was just one of those things I was drawn to, even when I didn’t completely understand how I could incorporate various technology. My initial idea was “audit your closet” a place where you could store and categorize your entire wardrobe in one spot. Then, an “e-stylist” would help you figure out how to combine different looks and tell you how to get the most out of your closet. I went as far as testing out the idea on a friend, where she photographed her clothes and I organized them for her into outfits. This was pre-iPhone, and apps so I quickly lost interest. I never stuck with the idea long enough to see how well it would’ve made a nifty app. Years later, I find my idea staring up at me and I feel a pang of regret. 


It wasn’t that I didn’t pursue the idea that I am regretting (well, a little) since ideas are a dime a dozen and useless on their own. It’s more about the fact that I didn’t truly and consistently stick with that which I wanted to do more than anything else. Why did I not see the importance of sticking to it? Well, hindsight is always 20/20.

This is my general advice to those that have an idea or anything they want to pursue.

  • Start a blog and write in it consistently. This is a good excuse to research and also to build an audience of interested readers. Don’t stop writing ever. This is my single biggest regret, why did I ever stop writing in this blog and this one on menswear?
  • Guest blog on other sites, I did this for a few months, but didn’t stick with it.
  • Attend events in the niche you’re interested in as well as keep up to date on trends and news.

If you continue these three things, then you’ll start meeting the right people and be given opportunities. You may even meet potential business partners or partnerships that make sense.

The key is consistency and not giving up ever. When you lose both of these things, you lose everything because starting from scratch when your competition has already spent time and effort doing what you want to do for years, puts you really behind. Even picking up from where you left off is a disadvantage, since it’s like you’re starting all over again.

I’ll leave you with this, don’t turn your back on something you want to do regardless of if you can’t do it full-time. You can always start small and build it up on the side. Even giving it an hour a week of attention is enough. Also, it’s okay to take a break from it and try other things, but never leave it for good for a stretch of time.

What are your thoughts on this? Do you have a passion project or subject that you love but haven’t pursued consistently or have left it completely?

9 steps to a Fashion/Tech Startup

1. Move to NYC or atleast pretend you are somewhere where fashion is respected. (or a fashion AND tech center closest to you – *cough SF*.)

2. Have FB connect sign in on your site.

3. Have a social media presence on instagram, tumblr, pinterest AND polyvore- (twitter and fb are obvious).

4. Your interface must look like pinterest (big flashy pictures that can be scrolled) and don’t forget GPS enabled.

5. Use the word “curate”, better yet have stylists and people with klout be your pickers of trendy things.

6. Throw in some eco-friendly products or that new tech fabric as a focus of your business or at the very least, a sub category.

7. Don’t forget to include handmade and one of a kind type items. (Down with brand names!)

8. Local/neighborhood fashion based on trends is key.

9. Tie up everything into a monthly subscription box, where items can be returned when tried on and rolled over to recurring months (brilliant business model).

And Voila! There it is, all the fashion/tech trends happening right now with some degree of success.

Curating Local Fashion: Delhi

I decided to physically test out the local fashion idea. I went to the most popular market in Delhi “sarojini nagar market” where all the fashionistas go to buy unique and cheap clothes and accessories. You can get anything at this market, including foil paper, and tablecloths.  Making your way through the market attacks your nervous system and senses. You have people yelling at you from all directions, and small children pulling at your hands. Thankfully I went with a veteran fashionista and overall pro at navigating the market. I was thankful to have worn loose fitting clothes, and was equipped with a bottle of water and large hobo style bag for stuffing all your purchases in (not big enough). The day was super hot (I ended up getting sick for 3 days after this expedition).

But, I was happy – this was authentic Delhi. This was where you could get stuff that was made in India, usually export surplus items or illegal brand name clothes with tags ripped off. I looked for items that were Indian but not super unique that you couldn’t find at 5 other vendors. This turned out to be scarves and harem pants – cotton, funky styles and colours. Along with the outfits, jewelry and purses were also found in abundance. One small vendor had 2000 pieces of a unique black ribbon necklace with metallic gold pieces looped in. I got his number..just in case. Slowly, I formed accessory and outfit pairings in my head. So step 1 was complete, I curated local Delhi fashion based on what I think would appeal to the west. Even after getting sick, and very dehydrated, this was actually the easy part..

I shared two accessory sets with a few people to get their reactions, most thought it was cool, but its not in your face amazing or ground breaking by any means. I imagine most people didn’t even get around to opening up the email, especially since I got the link wrong and had to resend it. (I blame it on being sick).

In any case, I put something out there and now for the hard part of seeing how this thing evolves (hopefully into a monster of sorts!)

What do you think?

Curating Local Fashion for the World

My new favourite word is “curate” it rolls off the tongue, many fashion sites uses it to show their extreme styling prowess.  In some cases its used correctly, while in others I know they just used a dictionary, or worse copied another website.

But what does it actually mean?

It’s the act of choosing from a large array and picking out only that which suits a particular audience, mood or anything else. Sounds simple enough, yet in most cases, what you find is a large array with no curation or theme.

I thought up the “brilliant” idea (already been done in various ways) of curating local fashion for the world. This means, I would choose a specific region or local area and pick out fashion that was reminiscent of that region and sell it in North America. Not to the insanely rich person, but to the regular fashionista or fashionister (?) who is interested in travel and fashion.

My idea was more or less sparked further while in Goa. I met a woman who had a roadside clothing shop, she designed and sewed all her own stuff, which was basically just sarongs, beachwear, and funky harem pants. I liked the authenticity of it all. Of course, everywhere you went, there was the same roadside stand with the same clothes. I imagine it sold well amongst the tourists, me being a prime example. It wasn’t original in Goa, yet perhaps as an online pop up shop it could be to the West….during summer or vacation season.

I also met a talented fashion designer who designed most of his own stuff as well, yet most of his ideas and designs were made on a whim while traveling to Thailand, China and Bali (where all of his stuff was sourced and produced). So would someone in the West want to buy a transparent sarong, funky tie up fabric sandals and a printed linen scarf? I suppose for the right price, they could experience a bit of Goa that they otherwise wouldn’t be able to experience. Yet, there is the nightmare of tariffs, taxes and shipping to contend with which makes it all not worth the price for the end consumer, but of course there is always ways around this.

The point is though, how authentic is all this fashion? Isn’t it all just copied from someone else from some other place? Isn’t it all just something that is made in China? Has local fashion turned into China fashion?

It definitely feels like that when all signs point to China in my search for curating local fashion. But, that’s not what I want to do, I don’t want to design, create or source out current trends or fashion, that’s what trained and talented designers are for. I want to pick out local style from these talented designers (I have an eye for that) and sell it in a package. But, that local style has to be locally produced and original – this is sort of rare and expensive.

Also, I found that some places just don’t have an authentic everyday style that could work in the west. Take Delhi for example, I haven’t really come across an affordable, casual style for women, that I could put together. The decent stuff is in the malls while road side shops are all copies of each other more or less shipped from Thailand. There are places like Khan Market and Hauz Khas Village that are authentic, super trendy and cool yet are a bit expensive even for the west. Plus shipping would be the ultimate heart attack.

Each local region definitely has a unique personal style, but don’t we all at the end of the day? Are we not all shaped by our experiences, where we have traveled and how we view our bodies? This culmination is ultimately how we dress regardless of where we live. We are our own curation of fashion.

In any case, the hunt continues for what I believe is my ultimate passions in life – travel and fashion. Atleast coming to India has taught what I had already known for years.

Navigating “real” Fashion Sites in India

Style does exist amongst the people who understand fashion ie: people who work in fashion, and the elite class that is well traveled and yearns for items you can’t get in India. How big is it? Well, considering that 80 to 90% of people only make about 200 dollars USD a month, that would leave only 10%. Yet, those people do spend 90% of the money, so perhaps it is a bigger market than I think.. Its for sure, bigger than cute lil Toronto.

So far India has surpassed the straight out e-commerce model, although an actual revenue model has not been proven as of yet, due to inflated customer bases by deep pocketed investors, COD, returns, and cut throat competiton. So, I’m still waiting on that.

But let’s move on from that yawn fest – I am not interested in deals, sales, ostentatious (couldn’t be sold in the real store) brand names, petite sizing, and an overall utter lack of style. Please don’t use the phrase “curated style” if you don’t know what that entails #kthanksbai.

There is a another crop of e-retail fronts that have caught my eye because they are starting to see e-commerce in ways that worked fairly well in the western world. Take, private sales, yes there are Indian guiltgroupe’s: and, both have a bit of a “waiting” list, which perhaps was strict when they first started but even I got in after a few days. Rooja, the more exclusive of the two (I had to wait longer), appears to also include US designers along with a Danish one and Indian ones on its repertoire. However, I was slightly disappointed by the selection, it was overall, kind of ugly. There is not one thing that appealed to me in the over 20 designers they had. Sameness isn’t fun. 😐 Moving on to Qvendo, it was a straight up brand name private sales site, mostly Gucci. Both sites were trying to be the high end version of a, which publicly sells heavily discounted brand name items.

Apparently, there were other sites that existed in the private sales space, but became public for reasons I can only conclude as being demand. But I can’t be sure. Perhaps it was the Indian designer flash sales site, which is members only (this means you need to sign up with an email address, while private/exclusive is through referral or waiting list). Again, for me, I personally don’t really like fusion fashion or things that are too ethnic. I know I wouldn’t wear it. So this site didn’t appeal to me either.

Of course, the US would feel the need to jump on the e-commerce bandwagon of India: enter A flashy and very slick site dedicated to bringing international designers to India. Overall, the concept works because the niche that this site is targeting yearns for all things foreign and from “abroad”. However, I can’t speak to how successful this site is doing..

The net-a-porter equivalent, atleast in name is, specializing in high end Indian designers. This is the sites I liked the most, very slick, easy to use, and it had a trend section. It was small yet considering most other sites completely lack any trend items, I must give some respect here.

Finally, the cream of the crop lady who apparently styled or styles Sonam Kapoor, (but not sure where that ended and the trainwreck started…) Pernia’s Popup Shop. This lady gets it. She uses her fame and actual knowledge of styling to curate style that is aspirational and pure celebrity. But, not all of us are famous AND understand fashion. There is a difference. Again, her style is fairly ethnic with some fusion, not something that appeals to me very much.

As I mentioned for all the sites, most sell fusion type outfits. However, I do believe there is a market for fusion items for Indian women who want to wear both sides of their lives. I personally feel the bread and butter is in the accessories (one size fits all type items) – atleast on the business side. Trend for accessories is super important since “extras” can make any foundation outfit look different so you need a new set of accessories for every season now don’t you? 🙂

Next up: The future of Fashion sites in India