After working for several fashion names, brands, and studying fashion, Shikhar Vaidya, Smriti Dubey, Pratyush Singh, and Tasleem Siddiqui saw several loop holes and entry barriers for a new designer label in the Indian apparel retail market. Whether it was pertaining to sourcing, manufacturing, tie-ups, or retail, the journey of being able to launch one’s collection and create a distinct identity was difficult.
They would see several of their college seniors launch their collection but eventually die down due to low traction, less or no brand identity, and lack of support structure. There are also times when there would be lack of innovation in marketing and selling their products.
Looking at several different challenges in the space, all of them decided to join hands and create a design focussed apparel e-commerce platform SINS – Synonym of Indian Style. The platform curates graphic art and design on clothing and lifestyle products for men and women.
"Initially, we were trying to figure out how to merge fashion, design, and technology in order to create a fashion tech tool that changes how consumers shop for fashion online," says Smriti.
She adds that they also noticed that there was an increasing number of smaller designers and labels that were into the whole pop Indian and Kitsch space. Many say that many players were curating the same in the lifestyle and accessories space but few options were available in the apparel space.
Although it had started with t-shirts, Smriti adds that they knew there still was a huge gap to be filled, and there was a need to bring these new Indian designs and designers becoming synonymous with Indian identity not just back home but internationally.
Workings of the platform
The team aggregates graphic designers, artists, cartoonists, illustrators, photographers and launch their collections amounting to over 3,000 fresh designs every month.
"We also deliver a personalised single page social shopping experience by providing amazing relevant content curated from travel bloggers, food bloggers, adventure enthusiasts, musicians, and fashion influencers. Our customer will eventually be able to try our products in a neat virtual fitting room experience," adds Smriti.
The target audience for SINS is 25 to 35-year-old urban men and women, who Smriti adds have a mature sense of online shopping,bigger pocket size, interest in value added products and design more than just discount and click-bait based online shopping.
"We want to introduce the underlying micro-entrepreneurship opportunity to designers and give them a platform to launch their collections without the hassle of manufacturing, marketing, and selling," says Smriti.
With the upcoming model they aim to make SINS a hub for design talent, great product design, international product quality, and most importantly a personalised single page social shopping experience with a lot of effort going in to maintain the visual appeal of products and website.
Traction and growth
Presently, the website houses a collection of apparel for men and women from two in-house private labels ‘Bohindia’ and ‘Haute Boheme.’ They're scheduled to launch the design box with their artists by the first week of November.
Some of the high points according to Smriti are when they got biggies like Ranveer Singh, Irrfan Khan, Ayushmann Khurana, Sidharth Malhotra, Miss India Finalist Rochelle Rao, international star footballer Michel Dinzey, Indian actress and artist Mahnaz Damania and Darshan Kumar who wore their jackets to various promotional and media events across the country to either promote their respective movies or attend an event.
"Another exciting moment was when we got a chance to promote the ‘Against Animal cruelty’ campaign with PETA at India Resort wear fashion week 2013 and got featured on Zoom TV for both the campaign and our show," says Smriti.
Space and future plans
The curated design marketplace concept is slowly gaining popularity as consumers and businesses alike understand the importance of designers and artists in the retail ecosystem.
The huge pool of talent, whether it be self-trained freelancers or students graduating from design schools, the number is increasing every year and only a few of them end up displaying their talent through products and don't get a canvas big enough to display their talent and in-turn be paid for it.
The team aims to have 300 new designers, over 3,000 designs every month, 20 pop-ups across Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru. Also a virtual fitting room tool, newer product categories for men and women, designer and artist collaboration.
The space for Indianised apparel is fast growing. Chumbak recently launched their apparel segment – Collection One. Focussing on these aspirations of consumers, Chumbak’s ‘Collection One’ will now represent the firm’s maiden Fall-Winter range which will comprise close to 350 styles, calling out to the new-age, fashion-conscious global consumer.
Seventy per cent of the range will concentrate on women while 30 per cent will be focussed on men’s apparels. They are also tying up with fashion discovery platforms like Wooplr as well as talking to marketplaces like Jabong, Myntra, and Koovs for selling their products.