“It is important to specify the targets, as youth will say ‘no’ to the brands they see their fathers sporting,” said Chetan Shah, country head, of Pepe India, remarked on the second day of the 25th IAF World Apparel Convention held in the Capital. This statement created quite a stir in the audience as there was mixed reactions to this remark, as popular brand pundits would claim that it is high time brands shifted their focus from being “youth” centric to being more encompassing in nature.
Later in the discussion, Shah pointed out that there are some elements that a brand should change and some which it shouldn’t, to establish itself in a given market. As for elements that Pepe did not change to adapt itself to the Indian retail market, Shah laid down his three points: “For one, we didn’t change Pepe’s persona on entering the country. The brand continues to roll out its international campaign in India as well, and we were adamant on not compromising on the product category and styles, which are inherent to the Pepe fashion ideology.”
While he himself maintained a non-compromising stance on adaptability, he acknowedged that some amount of flexibility is vital for brand acceptance. “I do believe that a brand can’t come straight into India without having to adapt itself altogether,” he admitted. “Adaptation is crucial in India as compared to other markets.”
Shah disclosed that Pepe too had to inculcate a certain degree of change – especially in product design – to suit the Indian market. In order to achieve higher penetration in India, the brand has connected with Bollywood in the past as a marketing strategy.
Referring to hurdles in adaptation for Pepe in India, Shah said: “Jeans were not a challenge; the tops, however, were. Primarily because of their necklines, silhouettes and colour palettes. Also sizes had to be adjusted to suit the standard Indian structures, especially for women.”
— Daakshi Kushwaha