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CMAI Ivy League debates ways to counter global brands

By FashionUnited


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CMAI’s Ivy League held its fourth meeting in Mumbai recently. On the agenda was how domestic brands can counter the impact of entry of global brands in India. As always, the meeting involved interaction amongst Ivy League members

and industry experts. Ivy League is CMAI’s Initiative to bring together a group of like-minded brand owners/manufacturers and collectively think of taking the domestic garment industry to an altogether different level.

Biyani, Chairman, Future Group, was the keynote speaker. The interactive session engaged the audience as they interacted with Biyani and the panel. He spoke on global brands entering India with the opening up of market due to a relaxation of FDI norms in single and multi-brand retail. Biyani said there is an opportunity to clothe 1.2 or 1.3 billion people, since people born in a liberalized era are looking at fashion in a different way. “We should believe in ourselves than imitate what international brands do. I believe domestic brands have a significant potential. International brands still import; they have a challenge of a supply chain. They are strong in women’s western wear. Probably we are not so strong in the understanding of fashion and the western women’s wear market. And that’s where the market is growing right now.”

Since the relaxation of FDI norms, both in single and multibrand retail, the organised retail segment in India is moving towards a new era. However, Biyani cautioned brands against hastening retail expansion. “Every brand should be positioned in its own distinct way. Mono brands should not open multiple stores. Retail is a problem with most brands. People have opened multiple stores. Out of 100 stores you open, if 50 don’t do well, that can take away your stock, your cash flows,” he said. He pointed out that retail has to learn how to deal with closing stores fast. “If you can’t be profitable within a year’s time you need to close the store. If you can’t reach a turnover of Rs 7,000 per sq. ft. you shouldn’t even think of running a store. We need specific merchandise to be made for department stores”

A panel discussion delved on the problems being faced from international brands and the opportunities for Indian brands to grow. Sanjay Vakharia, Director, Marketing, Spykar Lifestyles said, “When international brands come in at higher price points, it creates an opportunity for Indian brands to charge the right price for their products. So from that perspective, it’s nice to have competition. It keeps us going. Brands are not built overnight. It’s like having a baby and raising it. It’s a long process. You have to put the right things in the brand and ensure what was on the design board actually comes through. You have to have a vision of what you want to create.”

Radhesh Kagzi, CEO, Creative Lifestyles said they were ready to take on competition from foreign brands in the women’s category. “Indian brands like us connect with Indian sensibilities. When we do garments, we give special attention to the necklines and armholes, which are very different overseas vis a vis India. These sensibilities go a long way in ensuring the success of our brand.” Kewal Jain, CMD, Kewal Kiran Clothing felt that the mindset of being a fashion brand is more important than thinking about making it.

On a conclusive note, Anil Lakhani, Executive Director, Gini & Jony said the task of creating the right retail environment hasn’t begun in India. “Events take place at malls purely for profits. It’s time malls think of retail, think of brands. If you have a name like Gini & Jony, you will be seen as an international brand. So brand names also matter a lot.”
Creative Lifestyles
Future Group
Gini &Jony