Inside new buzz-worthy Kala Ghoda store 'Nicobar'

Nicobar, the new brand by the folks behind Good Earth, places an equal if not greater emphasis on clothing as home decor. It appears that, with Nicobar, the 20‐year‐old nation‐wide chain has positioned itself to enter the space currently occupied by an assortment of indie fashion designers. However, unlike Good Earth, which is known for its ornate, Mughal era‐inspired motifs, the wares at Nicobar, which was launched on Monday, March 7, with the simultaneous opening of an e‐store and 2,000 square foot brick and mortar outpost in Kala Ghoda, have a minimalist, contemporary aesthetic.

For Nicobar, in‐house fashion designer Aparna Chandra has put together a collection of cotton and linen dresses, tops, kurtis, tunics, trousers and jackets with comfortable, flowy cuts in a limited colour palette of ivory, grey, fuschia and lime. They’re the kind of togs that are casual enough to slip into on holiday but smart enough to don for work. It is, as their head of marketing Nirmal Kaur said, everyday wear as opposed to occasion wear.

Though Kaur skirted around associations with hipster chic, the Kala Ghoda boutique, from the location (chosen because “we wanted to be in a space where people are open‐minded and want to see new things”) to the trim store design (strewn with elements of the hipster’s favourite pastimes including Monocle city guides, bottles of Hendrick’s gin and copies of Kinfolk magazine) evokes a connection with this coveted segment. The brand, said Kaur, is decidedly targeted at those “with a younger mindset”.

The price points are therefore lower than those at Good Earth, ranging from Rs1,350 for crop tops to Rs7,500 for a Chanderi dress. Pieces from Travel, a third line that overlaps with clothing, start at Rs1,100 for a Ukiyo short‐sleeve tee. Prices for totes, pouches and luggage accessories from the range begin at Rs350 for a Zenbu bag tag and each of the ‘wash’ and ‘wear’ laundry bags and move up to Rs5,200 for a Mukayu gym duffle. The use of Japanese words to name the items does not seem to have any overt bearing on the design though it could be argued that the overall aesthetic of the brand shares the simple, clean lines of many Japanese design labels.

The store takes its name from another island, much closer home. The tropical getaway of Nicobar is referenced primarily in the elephants and palm trees seen on the home décor items, which comprise pots, plates, platters, mugs, glasses, bed and table linen and cushions. New products will be added every month or so, said Kaur. The menswear line is slated to be available both in the store and online before March is out, while the arrival of the festive season in September is likely to see more of “an overhaul” in terms of the “look and feel”. In keeping with the aim to be more than just a store, plans are afoot to hold events such as talks, photo exhibits and poetry readings at the boutique. There’s also a regularly updated Nicobar blog with posts related to food, fashion and travel.

Nicobar Design Studio, above Kala Ghoda Cafe, 10 Ropewalk Lane, near Rhythm House, Kala Ghoda. Tel: 022 2263 3888. Open daily, from 11am to 8pm. Get directions here. Visit

View Story here: The Daily Pao.