When you next click open this ubiquitous monsoon accessory, think of its pioneers. What history lies behind the household name of Stag Umbrellas?
British records note an absence of rain umbrellas in India 150 years ago. Ceremonial chhatris shaded royals and warriors, while ordinary people used palm leaf protection. Till waterproofing chemicals, nylon and polyester were discovered, silk layered with wax fended off falling drops.
Enter Ebrahim Currim of Kutch. Importing the first umbrella in 1860, he began locally manufacturing affordable, durable versions for the aam aadmi’s use. “He christened the brand Stag as he thought this a particularly beautiful animal that embodies elegance and grace,” says Aziz Currim, the founder’s great-grandson and a firm co-partner. “We balance an old reputation of trust with constant innovation.”
Sized from 5 inches to 33 feet, shaped not just in the basic round but in geometric squares or stars, inventive craftsmanship sees these creatively change colours and lights with each downpour. The special ladies’ model called Bodyguard flashes a red alarm signal in distress. And the Walking Stick brolly for senior citizens, with its unbreakable full-fibre frame, is tipped with rubber.
Ingenious designs apart, a legacy of trust has brought the country’s leading lights as customers. With presidents and prime ministers down the decades, customers have included personalities from Amitabh Bachchan and Jayalalitha (with a traditionally strong presence in South India, Stag even conceived Kalamkari and Kancheepuram patterned prints) to Ratan Tata, who has come personally to the shop choosing a large umbrella.