Ludhiana based Duke Fashions (India) Ltd., a much-favored name in Knitwear is acknowledged today as one of the undisputed leaders in the Indian fashion retail industry. The company’s values are based on its authentic fashion understanding heritage, dating back to the launch of the brand in 1966.
While Duke offers full ranges of clothing for men, women, and kids, the brand is now taking on the challenge and opportunity to go global.
The brand dates back to 1966 when Komal Kumar Jain started making T-shirts in a small setup by the name of ‘Deekay Knitwears’, in Ludhiana, Punjab. Apart from this, he was trading and manufacturing mufflers and other hosiery goods as well.
Komal Kumar Jain quickly turned his passion for quality and design into the business of making casual wear. Gradually and in due process he realized that in India there was a huge market for knitted T-shirts and that the scope of growth was unlimited. He then planned a knitting unit in which he could manufacture quality clothes influenced by foreign trends, mainly British. In 1981, he started selling these shirts under the brand name Duke. The brand quickly expanded and is now present not only pan India, but abroad as well.
In 2003, his son Kuntal Raj Jain joined the company and took forward his father’s dedication to craftsmanship and attention to detail. While the father believes in a sustained and systematic approach to growth where creating demand is as important as expanding the supply chain, the son is responsible for steering the flagship into the new Millennium, towards Millennials. The brand gets its core values integrity, refinement, character, understanding and optimism, from Komal Kumar Jain, with his son promoting the wares far and wide, achieving greater heights.
This was the time when Duke Fashions (India) Ltd was pioneering the T-shirt culture in India. Duke was voted as India’s No. 1 T-Shirt brand and since then there’s no looking back. The company gradually went on to establish several new trends in knitting garments and fabric research.
Duke is equipped with a complete vertically integrated garments manufacturing plant, with knitting, dyeing, processing, finishing, mercerizing, compacting, embroidery and printing, all under one roof. It’s complete range of products is vast and diverse and priced attractively from Rs 599 onwards.
Exclusive Products, Technological Innovations
Recently, the brand introduced Step Ahead, a premium lifestyle footwear collection for men, specially designed and crafted for comfort, style and durability.
“We plan to expand our product range by entering into the footwear segment. The expansion will create a centralized, multi-product engine for wholesale and retail distribution, supporting Duke’s long-term business growth in India,” said Director, Duke Fashions (India) Ltd, Kuntal Raj Jain.
The footwear range will feature a variety of sports, lifestyle, and casual shoes including Moccasins, High Ankle shoes, sneakers and more.
Retail Expansion Plans
Apart from footwear, the brand is planning on expanding the e-commerce way, where it is expecting high growth in the coming years. Currently, Duke has 360 EBOs, 4000+ MBOs, 200 large format stores and 50 shop-in-shops. Their turnover for FY16-17 from all these stores was Rs 285 crore (approximately) and they hope to increase this number to Rs 500 crore in the coming years, which is why the management is exploring new markets and avenues of expansion.
“We are looking towards expansion in new markets. Currently we are working with major e-portals including Amazon, Flipkart, Snapdeal, Myntra, Jabong, Limeroad, Paytm and others. To expand our online business, we have also started our own website www.dukeindia.com, where we offer free home delivery and CoD and online payment support services,” said Jain.
“We are also looking at diversification into the ladies and kidswear segments. Apart from this we looking to expand in the exports market to further the growth of our business in Gulf countries,” he added.
Jain also said that he felt the rural market in India was unexplored in as far as retail went and held a lot of potential, and that was an area his brand was slated to tap soon.