Meet Amish Behl, the man who is giving ‘Made in India’ a new lease of life. He is the brain behind Definitely Curry, an online magazine that throws light on indie brands. In a market inundated with international brands that primarily focus on fast fashion, Amish is on a mission to show people why ‘Made in India’ is the ultimate luxury. Telling the tale of labels that pride themselves on using Indian craftsmanship, Behl is reinforcing why locally sourced, homegrown products are the way to go.
We caught up with the man himself and asked what drives this idea, why he prefers custom-made over ready-made, and his love for all things ‘Made in India’…
BSC: Tell us a little bit about yourself…
AB: I’m Amish from Delhi, founder of Definitely Curry. Indie brand curator by day, watch collector by night. I spent a few years in management consulting before starting Definitely Curry — an online magazine that helps you discover the best, emerging homegrown brands for everyday, lifestyle products.
BSC: What drove you to start Definitely Curry?
AB: I am seeing a rapidly evolving local brand landscape with a global outlook, focus on quality and desire to stand out. There’s a lot of energy and finesse that young, creative entrepreneurs in India are putting into products they’re making, which is challenging our notion of what Made in India can be. It’s similar to a lot of ‘Buy Local’ movements in the West.
My light bulb moment, though, was an experience I had while buying a pair of jeans from Korra in 2017. I’ve always had a soft spot for small, boutique brands that have soul and individual personality; their story deserves to be told. And the need for this has never been higher, with the number of new labels that have mushroomed thanks to the social media and e-commerce boom.
So I felt the need to create a platform where we could curate this brand universe and have honest, straightforward conversation with readers about what makes certain Indian brands and their products special. Our stories are all based on hands-on interaction with articles, which makes it easier for people to support and buy into these emerging labels.
BSC: What does ‘Made in India’ mean to you?
AB: This is difficult to distil into a few words, because we have incredibly rich traditions in so many intricate crafts. We have an abundance of natural materials, heritage and local inspiration. So Made in India is really about possibilities today.
The modern Made in India we talk about on Definitely Curry is about changing the long-held stereotype that India produces things that are traditional and not of the highest quality. What we are creating today is not just about splashes of colour and kitsch. It is about better design, taking risks and being at-par with global peers.
As Indian buyers too, our aesthetic sensibilities are becoming more refined. You and I want to consume more of what we feel connected to, what we know more about. And that’s fantastic.
BSC: Why go for a custom-made shirt and not a ready-made?
AB: Many people discount how important fitting is, when it comes to clothing. Average design and great fit looks far better than great design and average fit. A well-fitted article gives you a certain confidence that you’ll only appreciate once you’ve experienced it.
A custom-made shirt will give you this in a way that ready-made often can’t.
BSC: What do you think Indian brands should be doing in order to stay afloat in a market that’s inundated with so many accessible international brands?
AB: I’d say stand by your strengths and story rather than trying to directly compete. I feel people now want to buy things that are more meaningful in some way to them. Whether that’s by way of feeling closer to a brand, getting something with more individuality or purchasing something better made. Pricing is important, but it’s the uniqueness and soul of a brand that sells. Smaller brands usually can’t win the price war, but have a large potential opportunity in quality and customer service.
There are large-scale surveys which say that most Indians are willing to pay a premium to buy local products. So the focus should be on distinguishing the product and experience.
BSC: If you had to describe the BSC experience in one line…
AB: Easy, fun and satisfying.
BSC: What would make you come back to BSC again?
AB: The excellent variety of fabrics offered at accessible price points.
BSC: One style-tip for men…
AB: If it doesn’t feel effortless, don’t do it.