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So quirk is in, and how! As the number of malls keep growing with every mall boasting of the same brands over and over again, there is another parallel culture that is really hot in India- Kitsch Indian Fashion. From well known names like Playclan and Chumbak to new emerging ones, these brands are hatke, lively, vibrant and very individualistic just like India herself. I personally love kitsch, so I am constantly looking at what these stores have to offer. And as a creator of e-commerce portals, I am equally interested in how their sites open up and lay out in front of me as a user.

I am going to go about the gigantic task of rating these online stores purely from a window shopper’s standpoint- how these stores have been designed and their performance- my personal quirks included! I haven’t bought from each of these stores, so I really cannot comment on the checkout aspects.

Bewakoof.com 

bewakoof

This site focuses largely on T-shirts and also has pants, mouse pads, laptop skins, shorts, chinos and sweatshirts. Their site is designed well, the layout is clean, but the presence of more than two fonts usually puts me off. Apart, I wish we could see enlarged views of the products and the images did not seem a bit distorted (when I look at the model’s arms for instance). But this site has a cool cool collection and I’m pretty sure they’ve got a huge fan club among students!

Chumbak

chumbak

This has always been my No.1 favorite, and going by the way retailers are lapping them up, we’re not the only ones. Their designs are always classy, and they have an immense array of products- all of which are tempting. Their website is wonderfully designed with a nice splash of colors and yet it manages to remain classy. I love the fact that they have laid out their product categories which show you everything in a snapshot when you roll over- just keeps me from getting lost. And I don’t land up missing something that I could have use for. Full points to this one!

Happily Unmarried

HU

This is an out and out lifestyle brand with a humongous spread of products from ashtrays to cushion covers. I love their stuff, especially the luggage tags, plus right now they are on sale!! On the design front, hmmm… I wish their creativity went out on the website as well. Its pretty vanilla with really small elements- small letters, small images etc. That’s a bit cumbersome. Also, again I would recommend an enlarge feature on mouse over. I don’t want to click through every product I like in miniature. Also when I do click on a product, I do like to see an even closer view at it, or maybe the image should give me an idea of the material. Lots of wishes here.. sigh! But lovely nevertheless.

Quirkbox

quirkbox

I am a bit disappointed in this one as a website. The design is too cluttered. The menu buttons too small and completely missable (if there is a word like that :P) and the products tiled too small. Overall a bit jarring. And the images just don’t load quick enough. And with my 4MBPS internet connection, that’s saying a lot! Come on guys! Shopping needs to be fun and not an endless wait for loading.

Heads Up for Tails 

headsup

This one is couture for pets..and a darned cute website at that! You would want to see it just for the design even if you don’t own a pet. I love the way they have named their sections. The usual problem of very tiny product images on homepage continues here….ggrrrr!! But overall makes me go ‘woof!’

Engrave 

engrave

There is such maturity and elegance in the way this site has been designed. Very clean layout. No nonsense. The images are very clear even though not very big, so are the prices. No unnecessary detail. Kind of reminds me of a Parsi joint in Pune. What you see is what you get! High respect.

Pigtails & Ponys

P&P

This is really pretty and girly. Soft elements and a clean layout. Again images would be better in a larger size and you keep wishing for more clarity. Sometimes clients want to keep it that way so that people don’t imitate their designs. But I always advise them against that as a product is for the customer first and the competition later. The menu is clean and simple. A fluid full-screen layout would have worked better.

Style 05

style05

WOW.. Next time I want to buy/gift a T-shirt this is going to be my first stop. Their prints are great! Ok, for the website- the design feels very template-ish and raw. It misses finesse, not to mention is neither full screen nor fluid. The plus point is that when I click through a product and then roll over on the image it gives me a close up view and helps me see the final print – in detail! Time to revamp the site and the logo though.

Stop N Stare

S&S

With the black background, very primitive navigation buttons and cheesily edited images I find myself just looking away. Sorry to be so mean, but really. I wonder why such little effort on the website while the stuff seems to be made with care.

Redwolf

redwolf

There is something very college and refreshing about this site. Apart from the imagery, the site looks like it has been designed by college students- in a nice way. Not a designer’s dream but a good effort anyways.

We’ll continue this journey next week while I can pick out more sites to rate.

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