LONDON — Bicester Village is highlighting creativity, craftsmanship and ethical fashion for its latest pop-up, Celebrating India. Opening Friday and running until May 29, the pop-up not only showcases fashion labels from Manish Arora and Behno, but jewelry and lifestyle products, too.
The boutique has been overseen by Sujata Assomull, contributing editor of Vogue India, who said she wanted to “give a taste of everything that is designed in India,” from fashion and home to jewelry and shawls, the staples of Indian fashion.
“That was really important to us because India has such a vast repertoire. We also wanted to show that Indian fashion is in fact very global, it’s not costume-y and just saris. Indian fashion has really progressed,” said Assomull.
Designers echoed that sentiment.
“What I’m thrilled about is finally the recognition of the creativity of the designers in India, which is so filled with imagination that draws from something so traditional but is also really relevant to a global audience,” she said.
Shivam Punjya, founder of Behno, is also excited to show a different side of Indian fashion. “People don’t necessarily equate Indian fashion with minimalism. We’re a country that’s so known for its intricate beadwork, and for me it’s how I can show that Indian fashion is contemporary and change that perception,” he said.
Punjya and Small’s products are both ethical, a common thread that runs throughout the pop-up.
“Ethical fashion is entrenched in India, it’s in our DNA and sustainability is very much a big conversation going on in India right now,” said Assomull.
For the pop-up, Bicester Village has partnered with Elephant Family to help protect the endangered species. Six life-size elephants will also be on display around the village to encourage shoppers to donate to the charity.
Desirée Bollier, chair and chief merchant of Value Retail Management, which owns Bicester Village, said organizing the pop-up wasn’t easy.
“Not a lot of people knew about Bicester Village, we haven’t yet had a long-standing relationship with India. But now that the door is opened, I’m really hoping that, going forward, it will be an ongoing love between us,” Bollier said.