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Business Sensibilities in Fashion

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Business Sensibilities in Fashion - Sabyasachi
Business Sensibilities in Fashion
18 th Nov 2014


Indian Luxury brands in India have massive potential. With many upcoming Indian designers showcasing their talent at the various fashion weeks and opening stores with their beautiful creations, the Indian luxury segment is definitely increasing.

The demand for this luxury Indian wear is also increasing with the number of fashion shows, bridal outfit exhibitions, upscale malls like Emporio in New Delhi filled with keen shoppers, Bollywood and high fashion connections seen in the media often and Indian Prime Minsiter Narendra Modi having his own designer.

Established Indian designers and brands are increasingly popular with some of them even reaching the $10 million mark. These brands are Manish Malhotra, Sabyasachi, Ritu Kumar and Anita Dongre. It is interesting to see how brands like these can grow even bigger.

While comparing high fashion labels in India to some of the biggest luxury brands in the world like Louis Vuitton which is worth $9.4 billion; Gucci which is worth $4.7 billion; Hermes which is worth $4.5 billion; first generation labels where the designer is still in charge like Ralph Lauren which is worth $6.4 billion; and Giorgio Armani which is worth $3 billion (Forbes, 2013), it can be questioned whether Indian luxury brands will reach a $1 billion dollar level.

The answer to this question lies in three aspects to grow bigger and better. These aspects include- focusing on the business angle of fashion; growing the unique craftsmanship of artists and designers in India; and creating a powerful brand.

While focusing on the business angle of fashion, size is integral for brands to expand and grow. Size firstly stems from the amount of investment and funds the business can gauge to grow themselves in terms of the number of shops and secondly from the way the business is managed. If the production is well managed and organized, the number of outfits, pieces and designs can increase to be sold and thus grow the business. Creativity is needed for exceptional creations but with exceptional creations and talented designers and to use these capabilities efficiently, the brand has to be well managed.

Secondly, growing the unique craftsmanship of artists and designers in India can have a massive impact on these specialised creations. Luxury in India is demonstrated by the unique craftsmanship that is seen through intricate embroidery, embellishments and applique. Promoting the use of these unique techniques and the indigenous fabrics can help brands grow. These specialised skills of Indian techniques that exist with specific craftsman and sometimes only exist within particular families need to grow and be pooled together so that there are more skilled workers to create these beautiful specialised creations.

Thirdly, branding is crucial for brand building and a strong presence. Branding in terms of a logo, pattern, symbol and colour scheme can differentiate and make a brand strand out. Consumers love something that is easily recognisable, for example, Tory Burch’s iconic logo with a double “T” has played an important role for the label’s success and even though this brand is relatively new, i.e. 10 years old as compared to other upscale brands, Tory Burch’s revenue is over $1 billion.

There are a few Indian designers that have used branding powerfully. Designers like Sabyasachi have distinct aesthetics like the borders and plaited trimming which is easily identifiable and have definitely contributed to his quick growth but honing this further can be extremely valuable for an even stronger brand name.

The powerful potential of Indian luxury brands thus can be seen when the business aspects of fashion are merged with the creative sensibilities.

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