Business Standard

Nicobar, a new brand from the Good Earth Stable, hopes to bring earthy tones into the home and wardrobe, writes Ranjita Ganesan.

Nicobar may still be a union territory but Simran Lal, who has named her new clothing and accessories brand after a tropical island, sees it as a state. “Nicobar is a state of mind. It is all about being easy, relaxed, joyful,” says Lal, CEO of the two decade old luxury brand, Good Earth. As it follows, the floating islands and waves of the ocean were inspiration for the nascent brand’s undulating logo and breezy offerings.

It is early days – day two, in fact – after the launch of the Kala Ghoda store when I visit. The last of the racks are still to be set up and final tweaks are underway. The idea of the concept began one‐and‐a‐half years ago, says Lal, while execution took six months. It includes clothing, travel accessories and home décor aimed at the modern consumer. The colours of the season seem to be mainly beige and grey with hints of fuscia and lime.

The clothes appear box‐like and relaxed on the racks. Their folds, flares and details become apparent on individual inspection. They pack in little surprises too, as shop assistants will no doubt point out to customers‐ a minimalist parrot embroidered in green at the neck of a shirt or a bright pink heart on the edge of a sleeve. An off‐white shirt‐dress made from chanderi cotton is worthy of becoming a summer uniform.

There is a cautious use of colour with a welcome absence of kitsch or heavy patterns. If there were any doubts about the indie, semi‐hippie direction of the brand, its team often talks of wanting to bring “joy and happiness” through the products. That explains the subdued bursts of quirk. The designers take into consideration India’s climate too, playing with soft cottons and linens. So chanderi, a traditional saree fabric, gets a contemporary spin as it is fashioned into dresses and overlays. Indian techniques like Ikat are used but on silhouettes that are more global than traditional.

There is a mix of tops, jackets and overlays, as well as dresses and shirt‐dresses. The focus is on layering and versatile styling. “The aim is to make people move away from impulse buys to more thoughtful acquisitions, “Co‐founder Lal says. Even if that means fewer sales for Nicobar, Lal notes the brands is trying to create classic, time‐less pieces.

The store is located one floor above the Kala Ghoda café in what was supposedly an office space earlier. The heritage precinct is now a popular fashion destination and among Nicobar’s neighbours are boutiques of Sabyasachi, Gaurav Gupta and Masaba Gupta. The store layout is clean and each display unit has the odd bit decoration, a pair of binoculars, an anchor, or a coffee table book. The brand will also be selling online.

The travel range is simple too with tones of grey and off‐white, bearing unique stamps with illustrations of a tiger or tent. Made mainly from canvas with the occasional leather reinforcement, the bags are certainly not recommended for rainy climes but this is in sync with the overall summery feel of the brand. Particularly interesting in the home décor collection is the serve ware crafted from slate and marble.

While Good Earth products feature original, expensive materials like gold detailing which make them conversation pieces, Nicobar is aimed more at daily use. The brand direction comes from Lal, while each vertical has its own head designer. Although products are displayed as pairs, noting is sold as sets so that people can mix, match and style as they see fit. It is a designed space but not a strictly curated one. New offerings will be injected into the range every month but never based on trends. “We want people to be able to use our products even five years from now,” reminds Lal.