Let’s face it, with a few exceptions, finding Indian/Pakistani clothing which you like, which also fits or could reasonably be altered, and has a price tag that does not make your jaw drop to the floor is a struggle in Canada and the States. What’s a girl to do? The struggle is real, and so when I did find a miracle that checked off all these boxes, it would have been a sin to keep it to myself and not share with my fellow brown girls! Hence, this Rajwadi Emporium review of my latest order!
Earlier last year, I learned about Rajwadi, a clothing boutique based in Valsad, India from relatives who had shopped there during a visit to India. They liked this boutique particularly for their large range of styles and great prices. Rajwadi had a user-friendly website through which online orders could be placed. Normally, I’m quite wary about purchasing Indian/Pakistani clothing online from vendors based in India or Pakistan for a variety of reasons from the lack of good customer service to ambiguous delivery times. Conveniently, my aunt-in-law who lived not too far from Valsad was planning on visiting us in the States in a few weeks, so I decided to test the waters and see if the quality of their product was to my liking. After browsing the website and choosing a simple ready-made kurta pajama for the hubs who was in need of one anyhow, I gave the product code and size to my aunt who purchased the kurta pajama for us in person and brought it with her when she visited.
Priced at $35 USD I figured there wasn’t much to lose even if we didn’t end up loving it. Luckily, we did love it. In fact we couldn’t think of any cons. It looked like the product shown and described online, it fit well, the quality of the fabric was really nice, and the work and stitching on it was neat and well done. Oh and did I mention the lovely price of $35?! I think in the GTA we’d have easily paid anywhere between $100-150 for this.
The online experience
Recently I decided to purchase from Rajwadi again, ordering two anarkalis and a maang tikka for myself as well as a kurta pajama and a pair of mojri/shoes for the hubs. This time however, I placed the order online through their website, and given all three outfits were made to measure, I entered in our measurements in their detailed and well-explained forms versus choosing a standard size.
Once again we got lucky in that hubs’ cousin was traveling from India to the States soon. After confirming he would be able to bring our package with him, I called the customer service number on Rajwadi’s website to confirm that it was possible for me to place an order online, but have someone come pick it up instead of it being shipped. The employee was friendly, reassuring, gave me clear instructions as to what to do and was able to answer my questions. Disclaimer: I did speak to him in Gujarati which I imagine made communication easier. As per his instructions, along with my order I submitted a note with the name of the relative who should be contacted to pick up the order once it was ready along with their phone number.
A few days later I received a call from Rajwadi to inform me they could not stitch the Kurta to the length I had written in the measurement form because the cloth was only a maximum length of x inches. Given it wasn’t too much of a difference and I knew the Kurta would still look fine at that length, I gave them the green light. However, I really appreciated that they had made an effort to call and confirm if I was ok with the new length instead of just going ahead and making it.
Despite being given an expected delivery time of 15-20 days, the order was ready in less than a week! A relative picked up the purchase for us and shortly after I received an email from Rajwadi’s customer service updating us on the status change. The process could not have been smoother.
Fast forward to hubs cousin and of course our order arriving.
Mojri/shoes: I had measured hubs size according to the instructions given on the website. This was one item I thought could go either way with sizing and was a bit of a gamble. However, they fit well, so if you follow their measurement instructions you should be all set. The plus point was that unlike most mojris that tend to saw off the back of your feet, hubs found these ones to actually be comfortable, and the comfort level was truly tested as he wore them while running around at my brother’s wedding. Price: $8.75 USD.
Maang tikka: I loved it, I had assumed it to be medium sized from the image online which it was. I’m satisfied with the quality, it is not flimsy or cheap-feeling at all, and all the stones have remained intact. Price $6.00 USD, no longer available.
Kurta pajama: This is by far my favorite purchase, and of course it isn’t for me! I think it looks even better in person than it did online. The material is rich, the color was true to the online image, and the fitting was perfect. Price: $72 USD with stitching, no longer available.
Red anarkali: When I first saw it, I absolutely loved how vibrant it was, and the embroidery on it which I couldn’t see in detail online was gorgeous in person. I absolutely love intricate, subtle, and neat embroidery. I had also asked to have a back zipper added which was done. However, the fitting was slightly loose, mainly in the waist area and the width of the sleeves. Luckily that is something that I can fix! A few of the white half moti/pearl pieces that were glued on did come off while I was trying on the outfit, but I think this is bound to happen with any outfit which has glued stones/pearls, albeit maybe not on the first try. Price: $ 60 USD with stitching, unfortunately it is no longer available.
Purple anarkali: This outfit compared to the red anarkali had a more quiet elegant look. Again, I had asked to have a back zipper added in which was done. The color shade appeared a bit different than in the image which was slightly disappointing, but the website does have a disclaimer stating that colors may appear slightly different in images. Once more the fitting was slightly loose requiring the waist and sleeves to be taken in. However, aside from that little snag I’m quite happy with it and now have a lovely elegant addition in my wardrobe. Price: $80.00 USD with stitching.
Has anyone else ordered from Rajwadi or have had experiences with other online South Asian clothing vendors? Thoughts, reviews? Post away!