Brands on an errand
WHEN FASHION brand Numero Uno invited media to have a sneak preview at its summer 2005 collection at the start of winters, it surprised many for more than one reason. It was arguably the first time when a middle-level Indian brand showcased its collection a season ahead to the media. Up till now, media was used to have a peek into the future courtesy fashion designers and even when some brand appeal was shown in advance, it was courtesy major brands like Be: from the house of Raymonds but that too just for the season ahead.
"The show is primarily meant for our distributors, but we thought why not share the trends with the media, after all brand image is becoming more important than ever before," says Narinder Kumar, Managing Director, Hi-fashion Clothing Co.
With the quota-free regime coming to force in the January 2005, the rules of the game are changing in the textile industry, the premier employment provider in the country. Tie-ups, consolidation, take-overs, professionalism finally seems to be becoming the brightest hue of the industry.
Numero Uno has tied up with Lycra to bring "style, comfort and perfect fit" to their designs. "Society is increasingly becoming conscious about fitness, that explains the tie-up," adds Singh.
The companies are looking to cover both the sides so when Lycra promotes Style Awards on MTV the winners include portly fellows like Vijay Mallaya as well. "Well, in India you have to play the game according to local rules. Our brand is all about attitude and we believe Mallaya exudes it," quips Satish Khurana, Director, Sales and Marketing, Invista.
However, while on one hand people like Gautam Singhania scout young talent like designers Gauri and Nainika from India Fashion Week to design for his brand Be:, Singh feels still there is no need to go for designer wear in the retail market. "First we have to penetrate in the smaller towns. There is A-class customer in every city waiting to be tapped. Our experience shows, comfort an economy are prime factors that attract customers and designers add to the costs."
Aniruddha Deshmukh, Vice President, Retail, Raymonds, feels, "For us working with designers has not been difficult. We try to arrive at a common meeting ground, and young designers are open to limit their creativity within the budgets. This way we are able to give more options to our customers."
Talking of Indianising foreign trends, Singh says, "It is must. You know McDonald burger and pizzas didn't work when they first came to India. It is only when they opted for Indian fillings and spiced up the toppings that people developed a taste for them." Indianising is not only limited to designs, it is seeing through campaigns of foreign brands in India where a tanned Bipasha is promoting Levis and even our Monte Carlo replacing `phoren' Lisa Ray with a sultry Sushma Reddy.
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