It’s StyleCracker Borough time! One of the most popular events in Mumbai to be held at the Mahalaxmi Racecourse on the 28th and 29th of November and this time, the SC Borough will see pop up shops, live bands and food counters in plenty. So if you’re a fashionista, a foodie, a music aficionado, this is the place to be this weekend. To know more on what goes into creating an event as exciting as this, we caught up with Tia Paranjape—Associate Director at StyleCracker, the girl who’s trying to make the world a stylish place!
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StyleCracker aims at providing styling solutions at affordable rates. How fulfilling has the journey been?

Oh I can’t tell you how amazing it has been! We started in May 2013 and just a few days back, I was in office working late and I happened to come across this frame that has all our initial press releases. So I realised we’ve come a really long way. You know our first StyleCracker Borough too launched in 2013. We did it in a bungalow on Worli Seaface. It had about 12 brands and today, we have about 130 brands presenting their collection at the Borough. We are also launching our mobile app at the Borough, which is so exciting! So yes, it has been fantastic to see us grow and learn so much.

What was the one reason behind the creation of a unique platform like StyleCracker?

Well, Archana (Walavalkar) and Dhimaan (Shah) are the founders. They have been friends for a while. Archana was the Fashion Editor at Vogue India and they were just having a conversation one day when Dhimaan came up with the concept and they decided to give this a shot. But you have to understand that the biggest reason behind this is that there is a need for something like this. We have so many e-commerce platforms and so many brands but people need to know what is right for them, they need to understand what works for their personal style and what fits in their budget. So I guess we really wanted to create a one-stop shop for all things style through this platform.

What has been your biggest challenge while working on this styling platform?

Of course, we’ve faced challenges like any startup would face. But then a couple of things have been a challenge as well as a support—a team being one of them. We have a really great team. We were a team of 5 and today, we are a team of 50. Building this team and ensuring that you get the right people on board is challenging because you need to find people who have your vision. Another advantage and disadvantage when we just started out was that there was no one else doing what we did. The concept was so raw. Now, there are some who are doing similar things of course but we were the first ones to come up with something like this.

What advice would you give to an aspiring stylist?

I think I’d like to tell them that it’s not going to be an easy job. Don’t come in with rose-coloured glasses. You have to go through all the layers and start at the bottom and climb each rigorous step up. It all looks glamorous but honestly, there’s so much that goes into styling. You have to do the dirty work because it’s all a part of the learning process. It will take you to the top eventually but there’s no escaping that. Styling is physically hard work. Like sourcing is not easy, working on weekends is hardly simple. You have to deal with people’s personalities, ego, etc. Also, maintaining relationships is so important. And you need to respect everyone—from your office boy to the celebrity and the dressman.

The StyleCracker Borough starts tomorrow at the Mahalaxmi Racecourse in Mumbai. Is this the biggest event for your team so far?

It is! The only time we did a two-day Borough was when we did it for the first time. This time, it’s on a big scale. We have a lot of fun things happening. We wish to do something different each time. So this time we have a live band and many cool DJs. We have a bar. We have some amazing food stalls—Terttulia, White Owl, 1 Tablespoon Pizza Kitchen and Bombay Food Truck. The other cool thing is that we are sponsoring a race happening at Mahalaxmi Racecourse on Sunday.

Who are your top five designers at The SC Borough and why?

Well, we have about 130 brands showcasing but I’m really looking forward to Shop Lune. They have really fine jewellery. I also love Popsicle. Designer Akanksha Gajria is doing a special line for us. So I’m looking forward to seeing her collection for the wedding season ahead.

Since this is your biggest event so far, you naturally have high expectations riding on this event…

You know we like to go into the Borough without any expectations. We’ve really pushed marketing this time. We did billboards across the city, radio ads and newspaper inserts. We’ve personally called all our supporters and invited them.

Moving away, you've styled plenty of celebrities too. Who has been your favourite so far?

Imran Khan without a doubt! I feel like he has an amazing sense of style himself. He teaches us. You always learn something new when you work with him.

Finally, where do you see StyleCracker 5 years down the line?

I hope StyleCracker will be in your pocket, mobile, everywhere. It should be what you’re wearing, where you’re going; you must take it wherever you go!