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Online Shop Sells Cool Finds from India

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Sub-continental style takes on a refreshing meaning with the launch of “Shop of Indian Origin” (SOIO) this month. Irked by stale representations of Indian design—think mango motifs and Taj Mahal prints—U.K.-based entrepreneur, Nisha John, created a much-needed web portal for artists and designers “linked to India by body, mind our soul.” The result is a delightfully whimsical collection (paintings, jewelry, clothing and home goods) of over 300 pieces that include rickshaw-patterned flip-flops, teak wood purses, and pillowcases splattered with images from vintage Bollywood films.

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“There are many online stores that market creative products from India, but they go the Etsy route—meaning anyone call sell,” says John. “On SOIO, I make the executive decision as to what goes on display.” As a discerning gatekeeper, John wants to showcase products that resonate with an international audience.

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SOIO stemmed from a popular design blog that John, a former advertising professional, started in 2010. “[The collection] shows what designers in and inspired by India are creating now,” John stresses.

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With prices starting at a mere $15, there’s little reason not to browse through her carefully curated array of goodies. It’s a collection that’s truly global in nature, with items crafted by Indian diaspora artists from a dizzying range of locales like South Korea and Australia. Our personal favorite: a dazzling zinc and peacock-feather statement necklace by North Carolina-based jewelry designer, Divya Thomas.

Aarti Virani is an NJ-based arts, culture, and entertainment writer. You can follow her on Twitter @aartivirani.

Images courtesy of Nisha John.

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