I get it. It’s not possible for us all to invest in an original designer lehenga, be it for our wedding or someone else’s. Whenever you see a big price tag, I’m sure this thought crosses your mind. Let me just get a Designer Replica Lehenga instead. Happens to the best of us.
I’m not an expert but I know this. You can get A-list designer replica lehenga be it a Sabyasachi, Anita Dongre or any other designer for under 1 to 1.5 lakhs. Be it any design you want. There’s always some store which will tell you they can do it done for you.
The minute you hear those golden words, that it can be done for a fraction of the price, we want to believe it’s true. But that’s easier said than done.
The minute you’re (copying) or how some might say “inspire” from other designers, there’s a lot of things that can go wrong in the process. So in this post, I thought let me try and bring down that ambiguity and help you get your dress at your price on your time.
If you’re planning on getting a Designer Replica Lehenga done be it here, or anywhere else in the world, you need to make sure to note these 9 points.
Following these 9 points should ensure the following:
- Good and clear communication
- Less confusion
- Less running back and forth to the store
- Minimal alterations and adjustments
- Hassle free experience.
Now before we start, I should tell you this. It’s always, *always* better to buy an original piece than go with a custom designed replica piece. Period. It’ll save you tons of headache and it doesn’t eat into anybody’s business either.
If you’re still undecided but have a limited budget, check out some of these labels mentioned below:
- Anisha Shetty Bridal Lehengas Under 50k
- Swati Manish Under 50k Bridal Lehengas
- Premium Lehenga Designers for Bridal Wear Under 1 Lakh
1. Go Prepared From Day 1
Go with a clear idea in your head. If you are certain about what you want, you can pass that information more accurately. Here’s what you can do.
- Take pictures of the lehenga with you. Clear, high resolution pictures are better. If you have multiple pictures of the same outfit, take them all with you. It might help seeing more details of the outfit.
- If you can give them a printout, that’s perfect.
- Do some research on the material the designer has used. If you want the same fabric, work – share those information with the replica store.
Going with a vague idea to a replica store is never a good idea. You need to know that these guys are experts in (copying). They will find a cheap alternative and present you something, and still make a huge margin. Basically, make sure you know what you’re paying for. And I’ll tell you how you can know this.
2. Do Not Give Out Your Final Budget At First Go
Your first meeting invariably will have this question. How much are you willing to spend on your designer replica lehenga? Suppose you have 50k in mind. Please don’t blurt out 50k at the first chance.
Try and tell them 15-20% lower than your maximum budget. I’m saying this because when your order is finally taken, it’s going to be months before you see your end product delivered to you. A lot can change between now and then including your budget. Usually, replica stores will try and stretch your budget by as much as 30% by showing you better embroideries, laces, material, fabric etc to lure you into spending more.
So keep that in mind when you go for your first meeting.
Now, suppose at this point you have decided to go with a particular replica store for your bridal lehenga. You have faith that they will do a good job and you are now having a discussion about the outfit. Here’s couple of things you should be clear with:
3. Do As Less Verbal, And Switch To Written Talks
Basically document your conversation for your benefit as well as theirs. Keep in mind, you’re not their only customer. They might be dealing with tens and hundreds of clients. Conversations on call is never a good idea. Details can be missed, and you have no way of proving that you said something before.
So as a general rule, email them your conversation. Not the whole conversation of course, but a summary of sorts. Write it in points, this is what we have discussed today and this is the decision we’ve come up with. Usually replica stores will engage with you over WhatsApp. Especially if you’re an NRI, or if you’re not local.
While WhatsApp is convenient, it is not the most professional platform as such. Messages can be deleted, or ignored in the pile of junk that we all type.
Instead, try and get an email id of the contact you’re working with. After every conversation, just send them minutes of the meeting. Emails have dates, time and is a good way to document multiple conversations.
The above are just some basic gyaan I thought you might find useful. Now, coming to the actual lehenga designing part. Here’s what you need to make sure doesn’t go wrong. This is absolutely crucial.
4. First Things First, Get Your Measurement Right.
Now, how do you do that? If you ask me, I don’t know what you mean when you want me to measure my waist or bum for that matter. Where should I place the measuring tape exactly? A few inches up or down, can make or break your outfit.
So here’s what you can do:
- Either go on video call with the replica store contact person. Do your measurements with their help guiding you. You can even screen record to doubly make sure everything is in place. Remember, the more precautions you take, the better.
- If the contact person is unavailable at your convenient time, ask them to send a body chart. Most of these replica stores should be able to send you something that will ease the process.
- In case you have any doubt whatsoever, clear it right away. You don’t want to work with incorrect measurements once the outfit is ready. It’s a whole world of pain.
5. Buying A Designer Replica Lehenga? Finalise Crucial Bits That Make Your Outfit
- What would be the material of the lehenga choli, skirt and dupatta?
- What is the percentage of machine work vs. hand work?
- Fix the colours on your lehenga, blouse and dupatta.
What Would Be The Material Of Your Designer Replica Lehenga Choli, Skirt And Dupatta?
Don’t keep it ambiguous. Go into as much detail as possible. Are you getting a raw silk, art silk, georgette or something else for your designer replica lehenga? You need to be very clear about this.
Depending on the budget you’ve discussed with the store, they might tell you what is feasible in your budget vs. what is not. 90% of the cases, they will try to upsell you (meaning, will try to tell you to go with a more expensive fabric or work thereby increasing your budget)
So, a good idea would be to get different price points in your initial discussion with the replica store. Ask them what can you make in this budget, vs. using maybe a preferred material etc?
What Is The Percentage Of Machine Work Vs. Hand Work?
The one thing that majorly adds cost to the bridal lehenga is hand work. The more the hand work, the higher the budget. If you go with an all machine work, your budget can drastically come down.
Machine work happens faster, quicker and is less labour intensive. Hand work on the other hand takes time, goes through different hands and is therefore more labour intensive. Hence, expensive.
So you need to make sure, you know what they’ve committed to you. Ask them what all will be hand work vs. which parts will be machine work.
Fix The Colours On Your Designer Replica Lehenga, Blouse And Dupatta.
The easiest thing to do here is to ask for a shade card. Normally, you will have a vision for your wedding lehenga that might not be best communicated with the replica store. Blue might be a different blue to you vs. them. It’s all relative.
So to make sure there is no major goof up, it’s better to ask them for their shade card. Don’t simply google and pick a colour. Let them send you the options from their end. It leads to less problems, and the ownership is on them to get things right.
For those of you unaware, a shade card is like a book with little fabric pieces in different shades. You can easily make out which shade you like and after dyeing, the store can get you the exact same shade.
6. Ask The Replica Store To Share A Sketch + A Dummy Lehenga Kalli To Confirm
I don’t know if the heading made any sense to you. Basically when you ask a replica store to do your lehenga, they first sketch up a piece for approval. This is basically a pen paper sketch with the design and the overall look done on a butter paper.
Next up, once you’ve finalised the shade, material, work etc the store usually will send you a piece of fabric with the colour, and design. This is basically to get a go ahead on the outfit.
If you get the chance, ask the store to share with you one lehenga kalli in design and colour. Once it is shipped to you, you can see that in front of the mirror, in sunlight as well as low light to see if everything looks ok.
Now is the only time you can make any changes. Post this, they will simply make the whole outfit for you.
7. Communicate As Regularly As Possible. Try And Get Regular Updates
Unlike original designer stores, with designer replica stores you need to put in more attention. Don’t just leave things as is waiting for magic to happen. You need to constantly call them, message them, remind them to work on your outfit. Period.
Usually weddings have seasons where stores are working over time, take in lots of orders sometimes more than they can handle. You need to make sure your outfit doesn’t get sidelined be what may.
Try and drop in a hi every now and then asking for pictures, updates anything to let you know work is in progress.
For example, when I got my lehenga stitched in a boutique, the lady gave me a delivery date of 5 weeks. It was the wedding season, and I had time on my hand. So I didn’t push much. But what happened is till week 4 zero work happened on the outfit. *ZERO*. Only after yelling, screaming, did work start on day 3 before the actual delivery. The actual stitching and the whole outfit was completed in 2 days flat. Of course, there were issues etc during the first fitting, but why to get yourself in that zone at all?
8. Keep Enough Time For Fittings And Alterations
A perfect dress is never done right the first time, especially a custom piece. You need to give adequate time to the store to get everything right. That means, being available for last minute alterations.
In most cases, if you’re an NRI bride, I understand you might just land in the city maybe a week or so prior to the wedding. Make sure you inform the store that again and again so that they have your outfit ready by your date.
9. Be Prepared For A Shabby Customer Service
If you’re lucky maybe customer service might not be that big an issue for you. But in most cases, and especially if you’re ordering a custom outfit from a different location, customer service becomes of prime importance.
In case you’re stuck with the wrong kind of point of contact, worry not. Try and minimise any confusion from your end. From the beginning, make sure to have clear conversations.
Remember, your wedding outfit is of much more importance to you than it is to them. So there’s going to be some mis-match in the frequencies. But you’ve gotta get your way out. So don’t give them any reason to cut corners.
P.S. How Do I Know All This?
My cousin staying in the US recently got her wedding outfit done by a replica store. This is me simply narrating some of her experience with you all.
The one major problem she faced with her replica store was customer relations. Her point of contact was downright rude and not at all easy to work with. Now, you might think this is a one off scenario, but let me assure you in lehenga business, happens a lot! So be careful with who you end up with, coz once that advance is given, there’s no turning back!
Also, If You Have A Chance Do Your Research On Multiple Replica Stores
Research can be done in multiple ways like:
- Stalk their Instagram profiles
- Read up on reviews
- See if you can catch hold of any client of theirs for reference
- Visit their store and see their other work
- Ask other newly wed brides for replica store references
The only way to know if you are in good hands is to find out as much information as possible. Now, I know for NRI Brides visiting a store is not an option. But you can work on all other options mentioned above. Maybe try asking the replica store to give you some references. Who knows, maybe someone might agree to share some contact?