Lack of appeal hamper Indian brands’ global growth

Friday, 20 June 2014
With global fashion labels queuing up to open stores in India, home-grown Indian apparel brands are perking up their collections to match global sensibilities. Rising fashion and brand awareness among the Indian consumers, coupled with a rise in disposal incomes, have made Indian apparel manufacturers realize the need to create global brands. However, for now, it’s the global brands who are doing exceptionally well in India.

Global labels present in India like Zara, Tommy Hilfiger, Marks & Spencer and Benetton are chalking out aggressive strategies to attract consumers with their collections, catering to the sensibilities of a global audience. This is where Indian apparel manufacturers fail because their collections are mostly created thinking about Indian consumer preferences instead of global audiences.

Creating global appeal

So what should Indian apparel manufacturers do for global acceptance of their brands? International brands focus on one main idea which is globally aspirational. While Indian audiences are no different, with the transformation they are experiencing of late, but diverse Indian cultures and traditions simultaneously forces them to end up manufacturing lines that appeal more to domestic tastes.

Only 8 per cent of India’s apparel retail is organized and the larger part of the business is unorganized. In fact, private labels do much more business in trade B2B (business to business) reaching out to the smallest of retail markets across the country. Many of these labels focus on a specific lifestyle categories, like jeans, pants, shirts, dresses, salwar kameez , kids’ wear and so on and are wholesaled from small manufacturing hubs like Delhi’s Tank Road and Gandhi Nagar; Mumbai’s Ulhasnagar, Bellary, Kolkata and Tirupur. These places are creating products inspired by films and styles picked up from somewhere without having a definite statement.

The demand for private labels developed by large fashion formats such as Shoppers Stop, Lifestyle, Max, Westside, Megamart and some regional MBOs as well as e-commerce giants such as Flipkart, Myntra, Jabong, Fashion & You, Snapdeal, Yebhi are leading the pace for private label manufacturing.

Despite strength, no global appeal

Indian textile and apparel industry is known across the globe because of its strengths. India happens to be among the biggest cotton producer in the world, is one of the largest textile manufacturer with companies like Arvind, Vardhman, Raymonds, Bombay Rayon producing and supplying world class fabrics to most major global brands such as GAP, Diesel, H&M, Zara, M&S among others. India also has some of the biggest garment manufacturers such as Shahi, Eastman, Pratibha supplying to top global brands. But despite this, manufacturers lack the mindset to create a global brand. This is because of the focus on selling and not building a brand as per demand. However, now big players like Arvind and Madura with a list of established brands in their portfolio are trying to bridge the gap.

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