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STYLEMART: A Brief History of Fashion

STYLEMART is the most recognized name in the Singapore fashion landscape. Yet, its origin is a humble one. In the1950s, STYLEMART started as a tailoring shop in Changi Village. How that modest venture became the household name in Indian fashion in Singapore is a story of grit and perseverance, vision and hard work.

Today, the name STYLEMART is synonymous with Kavita Thulasidas, the managing director and lead designer whose vision is the soul of the company, which was founded by her grandfather, Mr Gobindram Baxani. A well-respected and light-hearted gentleman with a passion for English movies, Mr. Gobindram made suits and uniforms for the RAF officers during the British time.  As a visionary ahead of his time, Mr. Gobindram taught his daughters to be independent women and was a constant source of inspiration and guidance. He is the one who would later encourage his eldest daughter,  Mdm Huri Baxani, Kavita's mother,  to embark on business, and to dream big. Three of his four daughters are now successful business women in their own right at different parts of this world.

Mdm Kunjbai, Huri's mother was the official share holder of Stylemart from day one. She supported her husband in business. During the time when Mdm Huri was establishing herself, her mother was a constant pillar of support.

She would come to the shop every day and man the cash register and report the activities at the store to my mother. Back in then day when importance of service standards wasn't even acknowledge, it was my grandmother that taught me the importance of customer service. She would always given me advise. Meeting her a casual conversation with her will start with how was business today?

Mdm Huri's story as a self-made entrepreneur is known to many. Forced by circumstances, she started her small business from home, as Sari parties. She worked hard and against all odds. Later, she moved to a small office on the 3rd floor of 149 Selegie Rd -- exactly where STYLEMART proudly stands today. In the eighties, Mdm Huri Baxani took her father's brand name STYLEMART to establish a high-end Indian fashion boutique in Singapore - the first of its kind in Singapore. It wasn't long before she moved to Parklane shopping mall and took up a store of over 2000 sq. feet, and STYLEMART had arrived.

Kavita's involvement with the family business started young.  From the tender age of seven, she was exposed to the fashion scene. She used to travel with her mother on merchandising trips to India. Kavita enjoyed watching the gifted fingers of Indian embroiders weave their magic into the delicate fabric and create works of art and colours. She loved the old architecture, the cottage industries and the antiques and handicrafts in India. It was love at first sight.

She grew into a fashion savvy teenager and by the time she was in her late teens she was already involved in discussions with designers and tailors and took key decisions on the merchandise at the store. Kavita returned from her boarding school education in Australia in 1992 and when she was 18 and officially joined the business. She churned out her first collection a year later and put together her first fashion show on 2nd Oct 1993 at Hyatt Regency to a guest of 200.

There has been no turning back  since. Year after year, the shows grew bigger and the garments more impressive. And today is Stylemart's 20th annual Fashion show.

Kavita was featured on Fashion Unlimited when she was  21 and has been featured on many Television programs  since, including "Young Turks " a TV channel 18 CNBC India.

In 1999 Kavita took over the reins of the business and has since grown it to new heights. Today Stylemart stands at  Selegie Rd, and owns the prime retail shop front on the Orchard-Serangoon corridor.

To Kavita, success is not measured in terms of the money accumulated, and her goal is not merely the financial success of one entrepreneur's journey. The journey of life has never been about the destination, it is about the passion for perfection, drive for excellence and the infinite pleasure in doing it right in every step.

Kavita's involvement with the family business started young.  From the tender age of seven, she was exposed to the fashion scene. She used to travel with her mother on merchandising trips to India. Kavita enjoyed watching the gifted fingers of Indian embroiders weave their magic into the delicate fabric and create works of art and colours. She loved the old architecture, the cottage industries and the antiques and handicrafts in India. It was love at first sight.

She grew into a fashion savvy teenager and by the time she was in her late teens she was already involved in discussions with designers and tailors and took key decisions on the merchandise at the store. Kavita returned from her boarding school education in Australia in 1992 and when she was 18 and officially joined the business. She churned out her first collection a year later and put together her first fashion show on 2nd Oct 1993 at Hyatt Regency to a guest of 200.

There has been no turning back  since. Year after year, the shows grew bigger and the garments more impressive. And today is Stylemart's 20th annual Fashion show.

Kavita was featured on Fashion Unlimited when she was  21 and has been featured on many Television programs  since, including "Young Turks " a TV channel 18 CNBC India.

In 1999 Kavita took over the reins of the business and has since grown it to new heights. Today Stylemart stands at  Selegie Rd, and owns the prime retail shop front on the Orchard-Serangoon corridor.

To Kavita, success is not measured in terms of the money accumulated, and her goal is not merely the financial success of one entrepreneur's journey. The journey of life has never been about the destination, it is about the passion for perfection, drive for excellence and the infinite pleasure in doing it right in every step.

To Kavita, success is not measured in terms of the money accumulated, and her goal is not merely the financial success of one entrepreneur's journey. The journey of life has never been about the destination, it is about the passion for perfection, drive for excellence and the infinite pleasure in doing it right in every step.

I have always stayed true to my identity, culture and heritage as a Singaporean born Indian woman, my upbringing in a modern cosmopolitan city like Singapore where I have been privileged to have been given the best in life, has cultivated and given me an eye for good things & great taste. I have tremendous passion for the craftsmanship in traditional indian embroidery and textile, fashion is not merely clothing for me but more a piece a art, and an expression of my soul.

Kavita was the first to bring Indian Fashion to the non-Indians  (This was in the speech given by Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam, I will get footages of the speech, also footages of Deputy Prime minister's speech).

STYLEMART brand has evolved since to become a name synonymous as a high end fashion boutique in Singapore and is Kavita 's skill and flair in creating a garments with a fusion of Asian cultures is the signature identity of her designs and what the brand stands for.

Kavita's clients are among the elite in Singapore and beyond -- heads of state, royalties from around and afar.

Among the myriad of contenders that come and go, the Stylemart Brand stands alone and distinct, tall and proud, close to the heart of many and true to land it represents.

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