Whether you’re addicted to brown bags that are small, medium, and large or you’re simply helping the economy, there are plenty of shopping hubs in India’s capital. Even when I used to visit Delhi during my school holidays, I always thought that the city had its own splendid style, and we’ve come to love the city’s distinct change in the air that makes people shop for corresponding fabrics and fashion lines: crisp cottons and dupattas by summer, raw silks and scarves by winter. Staying cool and classy for one half of the year, exuding warmth and mystery during the other. We can thank its spacious homes for making room for all the things that we love. Fashion, home décor, handicrafts and much more – if the wallet is willing, you can keep calm and carry on shopping. Delhi has the best of global fashion from international powerhouses on one side of the street. Cross over to the other – it also proudly showcases independence in design and excellence in detailing, which is gorgeously ethnic and original, made in India and made for the world. Check online for days off; Lajpat market is closed on Mondays, GK is (mostly) shut on Tuesdays. One more reason that Friday, we’re in love!
Vasant Kunj Malls
The trio of malls in Vasant Kunj cater to different budgets with an ensemble of independent retail stores, high street labels and luxury shopping. You’ll find major Indian and international labels here—anything from Benetton to Bulgari. The best prices come during the July sales or the December/January ones.
The shops and stalls in this market are overflowing with daily Indian wear, heavier occasion wear, fabric, buttons, borders, studs, slippers and everything in between. Some of the liveliest dupattas—those long, multi-use scarves—and most beautiful slipper-style jootis can be yours, if the price is right.
Hauz Khas Village
This market is a straight-up hipster’s paradise—and a treasure trove for any shopper who likes to support up-and-coming designers and niche stores that nicely showcase a strong sense of emerging Indian aesthetic. I could tell you about the cool baby stuff at Lola’s World, and the vintage posters or jewelry at Dang’s and Funky Gehne, but discovering these delights on your own is half the charm.
This market is known for its two distinct sides: its collection of bridal wear on one side of the market, and the cool, new boutique labels on the other (not to mention the fabulous street art.) What used to be an alternative wedding boutique for up-and-coming designers has also became a home to antiques, curios, trinkets and accessories. (And the office of lifestyle guide Little Black Book, Delhi.)
Also known by “GK,” this neighborhood is divided into GK-I and GK-II. GK-II has us hopping over piles of stuff, as shop-owners strategically spill out on the pavements with their wares. If I had to pick a favorite, it would be GK-I: I love it for the energy—buzzing but not unpleasantly busy—as much as for its shopping mix. You’ll find a line-up of Indian high-street brands for apparel and décor, alongside smaller, craftsmen-owned stores, quirky accents and the usual mall suspects that we’re only too happy to see outside the mall. There’s just something definitively Delhi about it.