The Genteel
January 21, 2021

Rashida S. Arsiwala

Mumbai's Dharavi area is famous for being one of the biggest slums in Asia (and the setting of Danny Boyle's Slumdog Millionaire). But do you know about its thriving leather handbag industry?

By Rashida S. Arsiwala

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Rashida S. Arsiwala

Mumbai India

Rashida was born and raised in Mumbai. A cricket, literature and fashion enthusiast, she studied Journalism and currently works in custom publishing. Her passions are adventure activities such as hiking and camping, as well as travel, food and dance. Besides fashion, she does travel and lifestyle writing and also a bit of financial and children's writing. Since being featured in a multiple-author novel, she has started working towards her own full-length novel.

Mumbai is many things: a fun city, a city that never sleeps - and a shopping haven. There's precious little that cannot be found in Mumbai in terms of fashion. The biggest and best brands are here and at the other end of the spectrum are the much less expensive, but arguably more popular, street vendors. Between these diametrically opposed shopping options lies a third option - struggling small shops.

Religious attire is seen as something that is serious and staid, not to be messed with. Lately, however, the rida is defying such notions. Rashida Arsiwala looks at how women of the Islamic Dawoodi Bohra community are expressing themselves through their religious garb.

In recent years, the city of Mumbai has burst forth massively onto the style scene. Since the hugely popular biannual Lakme Fashion Week debuted in Mumbai in 2006, a new group has been adding to the city's fashionable image - fashion bloggers and personal stylists. 

When British rule ended in India, the people were elated at the prospect of independence. However, the British left lasting marks on the country, ones that can still be seen today. In south Mumbai, heritage structures remain prominent sights of historical nostalgia. As prominent as these buildings are, the stories they possess are equally bewitching.

An unpretentious setup and a small but loyal clientele: the business of India's small-time tailor, better known as a darji, is never in the limelight, but they are responsible for the beautiful clothes hanging in the windows of some of India's most fashionable stores.

Amid Mumbai's early morning stress, traffic and noise, few have time to consider packing a lunch. For many, however, this isn't a problem, thanks to a coordinated and efficient team of delivery people: the dabbawallas.

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