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Inside India's first virtual designer store

Manish Malhotra's novel offering marks the start of a new era in the Indian fashion industry, which never completely embraced the online world till covid-19

Manish Malhotra's Delhi design studio, which is now open virtually as well. (Manish Malhotra)

The past year has pushed the fashion industry to build a virtual world. The covid-19 pandemic has convinced people it's no longer necessary to walk inside a designer store, feel the fabric of a dress, try it on, and decide whether to buy it. Technology can provide the same experience while the buyer sits in their living room, well almost. And the brand that's able to transpose the physical pleasures of fashion into a satisfying online experience will be able to build a legacy.

Manish Malhotra is aiming to do just that by opening India's first virtual designer store today. His new experiment, which comes a year after the designer celebrated 30 years in the industry, marks the start of a new era for Indian fashion, which never completely embraced the online world till covid-19.

"We're relying on technology more than ever. The decision to launch the virtual store was long overdue but intensified due to the pandemic. While our customers have been able to shop via our e-commerce site, we wanted to offer a seamless experience to our brand," says Malhotra.

The Manish Malhotra virtual store, brought to life by the online virtual experience partner Gmetri, will allow customers to take an immersive walkthrough of the 15,000 sq.ft Delhi flagship store. Built with navigation systems and custom configurations, using your mobile or laptop, you can walk through aisles, zoom in on the products and get the details of the item, all from the comfort of their home.

Some individual sections are curated especially for the virtual experience, such as the jewellery and beauty lines, to allow for leisurely browsing.

The virtual experience will soon be tipped with Malhotra's own green screen facility, where he can assist select customers in choosing the right outfit for themselves. "With this new virtual experience facility, we hope to bridge the gap between customers and the joy of shopping during covid times and beyond."

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