The Fabindia Experience Centre which opened its doors on 7 May, 2019 at 7 Loudon Street, is uniquely positioned almost at the centre point of the city. Even more significant is the fact that it is housed, synergistically, in an almost 200 year-old restored heritage building which makes for a twinning of purpose, where the legacy of architectural splendour blends with the bequest of Fabindia’s indigenously sourced range of products.

As one of India’s largest lifestyle retailers, this Experience Centre, spread over 8,960 square feet, is the first in the region and the thirteenth in the country. The magnificent building with its tied brick arches, its stained-glass windows, and the vaulted ceilings − has seen its character being regally retained and with Fabindia now spreading its multi-dimensional product and service range, the Experience Centre becomes a voyage of discovery.

This writer was present at the inauguration, specially invited because we lived in this 40 kottah property, with its sprawling lawns and greenhouses and stables. To see it get new heft with Fabindia’s engaging retail experience is to acknowledge the rootedness in tradition of Fabindia.

As you move from one open-planned room to another, you are able to discover racks of organic garments, for women, children and men in a marvellous palette of colors, then slip in seamlessly into the home furnishings area with the beds and sofa sets and draperies; come face-to-face with racks and racks of personal care products, and wellness products, while there is an Interior Design Studio, Organic Wellness Centre, Alteration Centre and Tugbug (a creatively done children’s activity zone).

And then there is the fresh look Fabcafe, with its large picture windows and indoor plants and a nutritious and contemporary Indian menu that is distinct in that there are wheat-free, dairy-free and vegan options, while still presenting alluring starters, salads, main courses and a variety of drinks from cold-pressed juices to shakes to select teas and coffees.

On a hot day, customers were seen ordering platefuls of a jhalmuri salad with puffed quinoa, makhana, and many more things, spicy sprout filled gol gappas with three flavors of water, wheat-free momos and everything from ganna juice to a turmeric tonic. In just a matter of weeks, it has become the happening hub in town for high tea, for breakfast meets, and even dinners.

Viney Singh, Managing Director of Fabindia, who was in the city for the opening, talked about taking forward the success of the other Experience Centres in India, saying that he was “looking forward to making the same holistic experience that extends from Fabcafe to the entire Fabindia offering available to our customers in Kolkata as well.” And Prableen Sabhaney, Head of PR brought in the essence of Fabindia which “combines heritage craft with contemporary usage, keeping craft relevant and desirable.”

And desirable this airy, multi-product retail space is, as the latest happening, organically well-heeled new kid on the block. Heritage retained, inheritance gained.

Photo credits: Tehnaz Dastoor