Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Mixing pleasure with business all the way...

IIPM Best B-school

He’s been in the business for the last 16 years and coming from a family of chartered accountants, he sure knows a thing or two about monetising his passion

Apart from his flair for creating clean western silhouettes, this designer from Mumbai has managed to crack some smart deals with corporate houses. He stepped boldly into retailing in 2003 in collaboration with up-market retail store, Benzer. His first prêt line Rocky S Jeans saw great interest from a host of chain boutiques and ever since this designer has experimented with a host of prêt creations. With Akshay Kumar & Beyoncé Knowles as clients, Rocky S indeed knows which side of the bread is to be buttered. He shares his designs at making money...

4Ps B&M: Why haven’t Indian designers been able to build sustainable brands?
I don’t think we’re missing out big time but we have lately realised that from the long run sustainability perspective of the brand, we need to focus more on the affordable segment. See, designers today have two types of collection in their portfolio – the haute couture for the high-end customers and the ready-to-wear prêt line. In order to create a popular brand, I think we need to focus on the prêt line.

4Ps B&M: The Indian designer wear industry is unstructured. Comment.
We haven’t grown as compared to the European designer industry. But, if you consider any designer brand from Europe, you will see initially they have been supported by big business houses. This trend however, till date, is conspicuous by its absence in India. The Indian designer wear industry is lacking funds and therefore we need support from the corporate houses. It can be in the form of tie-ups with retailers or even from venture-capitalists.

4Ps B&M: But, why is corporate interest missing?
I think this is because it requires a lot of transparency to generate investments. If someone is investing in your business, he/she has full liability to know what exactly is happening with the money. We are still in a nascent stage to maintain such transparency and thus, many designers are now starting to become more organised. Some of us have now even begun to pay attention to financial audits.

4Ps B&M: Given the global recession, do you think fashion industry must resort to cost-cutting?
Yes! Remember at the end of the day you need to make money and so like any other business organisation you need to have your financial plans intact. The recession has affected the global fashion industry badly, as visible in the London and Milan Fashion Weeks.

4Ps B&M: How do Indian Fashion Weeks compare with the London or Milan Fashion Weeks?
The fashion events at London and Milan are much bigger than the Indian Fashion Weeks, but at the same time, please remember that they are over 20-30-years-old and we are just a decade old. Showing your collection in Indian fashion weeks will cost you between Rs.6-12 lakh but for global fashion events the cost is almost double.

An Initiative of IIPM, Malay Chaudhuri and Arindam chaudhuri (Renowned Management Guru and Economist).

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