Street Style Has Its Own Rules in Mumbai

Street Style Has Its Own Rules in Mumbai

Story by Radhika Malhan / Photography by Arsh Sayed / Styling by Ruchika Vyas

Mumbai is a city. Bombay is a feeling. An indescribable emotion. A jumble of freedom and expression and ambition, shrouded in bustling streets and sky-high buildings. The spirit of its people is its beating heart.

At the center of it all: Bandra. Maharashtra’s third-largest commercial hub, an odd cocktail of glamour and old-world charm, and my favorite suburb. As human beings grow older, we often begin to regain the spiritedness of our youth. Places can feel this way too, and Bandra certainly is no stranger to this phenomenon. Alive and kicking, thrumming with energy and a youth culture as untameable as the sea it faces.

At the forefront of this de-aging is an emerging street scene. Street culture is something that has to be cultivated. You sow the seeds by making it a part of the urban landscape and then the physicalities begin to influence the way people interact with one another, which is what this visual essay shot by Arsh Sayed aims to capture. This skatepark stands testament.

The images are a pandemic-baby of Bombay SB (a skateboarding community and makers of skateboards) and The Bandra Collective. Sanskar Sawant, founder of Homework Studio, was inspired by board games to design this larger-than-life arcade-themed skatepark.

Here, fostering camaraderie and welcoming all with open arms, you’ll find: newcomers trying skateboarding on for size; older, more experienced skateboarders happily mentoring fresh blood and a mixed bag of people sharing a good time together. It is as though these nooks and crannies have metamorphosed from places of physical activity, to spaces of community and belonging.

So much of Bandra’s youth culture circles around the idea of self-expression; from what you do to where you go to what you wear, all of it urges you to be your most authentic self. And rather ironically, this idea of individuality is what fuels Bandra’s culture of togetherness, along with its fashion.

For this story, Ruchika Vyas sourced vintage treasures from Aimee, a Delhi-based thrift store with a digital flagship and a thriving Instagram presence. Paired with modern pieces from Balav (an emerging Indian streetwear brand), the styling captures the city’s proclivity for juxtaposition. Individuality plays a significant role in this expressive, inventive form of dressing that can only be described as jugaadu.

The pictures tell a story about how fashion has its own rules here; against the backdrop of Bandra, everything is timeless and nothing ever goes out of trend. Bandra is loud. It is, perhaps, the most special thing about the suburb that in the sheer intensity of sound, each voice is distinct, inimitable and memorable.

Photography: Arsh Sayed
Model: Isha Dhillon
Styling: Ruchika Vyas
Hair and makeup: Eshwar Log
Hair and makeup assistant: Omisha Chaturvedi