Bambolim (Goa), Dec 10 (IANS) Goa's picturesque beaches and churches apart, tourists also throng the state for local shopping. But the first edition of the India Resort Fashion Week (IRFW) seems to have affected regular shopkeepers though some feel events such as these will promote Goan culture.
Kevin Braganza, a local shopkeeper, who runs a handicraft and jewellery store in Calangute Market Square, is aware of 'some fashion week' happening in Goa but he says it is hardly minting business for him.
'I have always been selling my stuff at a decent rate and I am very sad with the kind of business I received this time. Earlier, there were lots of tourists who used to come and buy products, but now they only come to ask about particular branded and designer stores,' Braganza told IANS.
'All the handicrafts and jewellery that I sell are priced between Rs.200 and Rs.5,000. But now tourists are not even willing to pay that. However, they go and spend millions on designer brands,' he added.
Tourists can opt for two kinds of shopping experience in Goa - they can splurge on handicrafts, antiques or silk apparels at upmarket boutiques or go for flea markets which offer the similar products at an affordable price.
Some of the known markets in Goa are Mapusa, Anjuna and Calangute Market Square.
The Mapusa Friday market, as its name suggests, takes place every Friday. This small town market is 13 km from Panaji and has been the market hub of North Goa even before proper roads were constructed here.
The Anjuna flea market, held every Wednesday at Anjuna beach, is another famous shopper's delight, as is the Calangute Market Square and a Tibetan Market where one can get good deals for carpets, embroidered fabrics and other merchandise.
Over the years, a few fashion designers have opened stores in Goa.
Wendell Rodricks owns two stores in Panaji while Malini Ramani has her boutique-cum-restaurant Congo located in Candolim. Italian designer Pamela Brussati's boutique Bruga specialises in leather, cotton ensembles.
Since a host of fashionistas are currently in Goa for the IRFW, local shopkeepers are quite stressed.
Said Tanzim Sheku, a shopkeeper from Tibet: 'I heard that this year the number of tourists, especially those from India itself, is better than the last season. But where are they?'
'I haven't even reached break-even yet! So I think the increased number is only because of this resort fashion week, which is happening in the state for designerwear.'
While one can get a stylish and funky top in the flea market for Rs.200, a designer top won't cost anything less than Rs.1,000.
Shobha Rana, who handles Shobha cosmetics and apparel in Calangute Market Square, laments how people are moving away from the real Goa.
'We are known for age-old shops and flea markets, but such shops have lost their importance drastically because of emergence of designer stores and markets. Such events will not help in the long run, especially when it comes to our business and promotions,' Rana said.
However, there are a few vendors who are hopeful that fashion weeks like this will help in promoting Goan culture.
'I am not denying that the designer stores and fashion events have taken half of our business. But this is also helping in spreading awareness about Goan culture and traditions,' said Babul Verghis.
Said fashion enthusiast Piyali Sinha: 'The IRFW is definitely the talk of the town as people are curious to get hold of what's happening in Goa.'
'The number of tourists has increased this year in leaps and bounds. The IRFW definitely helped in improving Goa tourism,' she added.
(Nivedita Sharma can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)