One single memory can contain an entire city. Split it like an atom and you’ll find tall drinks and days when the sun came out, old friends and fading moons, strong bridges and weak knees. And through all of this memory-deconstructing, in your head, you’ll picture yourself wearing something specific, an ensemble that is now inter-linked with that city forever. Like our flow-y peach dress with comfy sandals and a straw hat, a combination that reminds this writer of her three years in the green Barossa valley in Adelaide, Australia.
It is this concept – handmade ensembles that are inspired by and evoke cities around the world – that Seat 14A uses to sell clothes online. This fun, new e-commerce platform operates from the US, but retails anywhere in the world, and is currently just for men. Buys for women are on the eve.
How it Works
Once you’re on the home page of the site, you’ll see a map of the world and the collections available from different cities. Select the collection you want to browse, and you’ll see what past customers have bought. From the Dilli Summer collection, you can get a basic ensemble of two summer pants, two scarves, one pair of handmade leather Kolhapuris slippers and two accessories (like a bead necklace, if you’re into that sort of thing), all done by local designers for the price of USD 125.
To process your order and customise your outfit, you have to enter your contact details, measurements and answer a fun questionnaire that asks whether you like pink or purple, a sorbet or a cone...you get the picture. You’ll be contacted directly by the curator who will ask what colours, materials etc you’d like and if you want additional items like an organic t-shirt. Once you and the curator have agreed on the final ensemble, he or she will send you a link of what it will look like—which you can post on Facebook or Twitter if you’d like to get friends’ opinions —along with the final price plus shipping (about USD 35). Following this, you will receive your package in two weeks or less.
Window (Seat) Shopping
In case you’re wondering about the name, here’s how the story goes: Seat14a was the seat owner Nav Chatterji, who’s based in Texas, was sitting on when he flew to Delhi a few years ago. What was supposed to be a four-week stay extended for five months. “I realised that I hadn’t packed appropriate summer clothing,” says Nav, “so I got a friend to put together a bunch of affordable but stylish Delhi summer looks. This inspired the curation-based model for Seat 14a.”
Currently, the month-old site has a Dilli Summer collection available, but Nav promises there will be a lot more, influenced by Peru (based on alpaca wool), Toulouse (casual men's wear) and the Lake Palace in Udaipur.
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