Salman Khan’s sister and producer-designer Alvira Agnihotri and designer Ashley Rebello will soon launch their designer store in Bandra. Tucked in one of the quaint lanes in Bandra, the store Ahakzai will house collections from designers from all over India apart from their own creations.
Alvira and Ashley have been designing for Salman since 2007. And with this store they want to cater to a wider clientele.
Alvira: We always wanted to have an outlet. One day we just decided to take some designers and just start. There was no planning or strategy. We didn’t even have a name! We were thinking out of the box names and we had a shortlist but most of them were taken. Then I came up with the name Aubergine which is the name of an Australian tribe. Then my husband Atul told me to call it Ahakzai which is the name of a Pashtoon tribe. My dad’s ancestors come from that tribe. I checked and when nobody had that name we decided to name it such. There is a positive feeling about the name. The tribesmen were very loyal to their land.”
Ashley: When Alvira or I wear something at events, 50 people ask us to design the same thing for them so we thought why not have a store for that.
What to expect
Alvira: Right now we are starting with Indian but eventually will source international designers funky clothes which are not available here. We are starting with Indian outfits for women like saris, kurtas, kurtis, lehengas, shararas, ghararas etc in in affordable range. We are giving designers complete freedom to do whatever they want to. My daughter’s friend’s sister who is in her early 20s will be designing a line for us. Kabir Khan’s wife Mini Mathur is also designing a line for us.
Sheeba, my friend, who exports carpets is also designing a line for us. She was an airhostess so she has her own sense of style. It’s about people who want to be creative but have no outlet for it.
We are doing it for fun and creativity and not for profit.
Ashley: Outfits will be available from simple casual to formal events and weddings. We could have a bride come in and we would design her entire trousseau. We are offering another service.
Like if a celeb wants something special for an event we will send them 10 outfits to select from according to their personality and the event, based on the brief given us to us. We are in touch with so many actors and actresses and if one of them wants to come up with their lines they are most welcome. That’s what we are encouraging do a line and we will put it out there.
The price tag
Alvira: The prices are expected to be from Rs5,000 onwards. It’s not going to be at ridiculous prices but money’s worth. Our line will be stylish, different yet affordable.”
Ashley: Our friends keep telling us that they are fed up of spending lakhs on outfits and why can’t they get outfits ranging from Rs5,000 to Rs10,000?
We are offering that kind of economical range. There is expensive stuff
Alvira: I would love to take credit for it, but I did nothing. I just told Ashley to do it. I just gave vishesh tippanis.
Ashley: I did it with my a friend of mine Saket Sethi who’s an architect. I went and chose everything myself right from the photoframe, flowers, to the sewing machine, wooden flooring, and jaalis. I enjoyed doing this space. We also have an office that we did together. I always wanted the space to be warm because that’s the way the Khan family is. And that’s the way I am.
In their home, a guest is always welcome whether for lunch, dinner or tea and it doesn’t matter if you are nice or not, you are welcomed in their home. That’s what we wanted a place we can walk into, laugh, and shop. Our store is simple, warm and comfortable with an eclectic mix of different designers who have kept their wares with us, which is affordable. Everybody can walk into the store and feel that there is something for them.
Ashley: Everybody wants us to have a grand launch, but we don’t want that. We will have an opening but not a huge one. That’s not us. Like Alvira always says she wants people to know about it through word-of-mouth. People should come to us.
Alvira: We want our work to speak for itself.