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Leading fashion and lifestyle brands to get together at Pure and Play

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India Fashion Forum with support from ministry of textiles, government of India, is hosting the second edition of Pure and Play from June 29 to July 1, at Pragati Maidan in New Delhi.

Conceptualised to direct the growth of the womenswear and kidswear market, Pure and Play brings together ideas, innovations, concepts and minds from the fashion and retail industry in this category.

Pure and Play gains added relevance this year with three more big events held alongside: Fashion Alliance-supported India Brand Show (IBS), the retail exhibition – The Shop, and The Nokia Images CEOs Meet.

While the Pure and Play conference shall get the minds from the business of fashion to debate and discuss issues and opportunities in the women’s and kids’ categories, the exhibition arena will showcase brands and suppliers of category-specific merchandise from across the country.

Talking about the relevance of the event, Rakesh Biyani, chairman, Pure and Play 2008, & CEO, Future Retail, India’s largest retailer, says, “At Pure and Play 2007, we retailers could discuss not just merchandise selection with a cross-section of global and home-grown brands, but also could explore product development facilities with mega exporters plus many small vendors that have the potential to cater to our varied customer base.”

“The strategy is to connect vendors, manufacturers (from small to large) and designers to organised retail merchandisers and buyers through a b2b interface that allows product displays, sampling, sourcing, merchandise management and vendor-retailer relationship – all at one venue,” says Amitabh Taneja, chief convenor, India Fashion Forum.

Speakers at the conference include prominent personalities like Loretta Erickson of Wal-Mart, Lakshmi Menon Bhatia of Gap, Pradeep Jain of Parsvnath, V Ramnath of Nokia, Marcelo Villagran of Bata, DPS Kohli of Koutons, and Ram Chander Agarwal of Vishal Retail, besides top executives of Nike, Reebok, Adidas, Benetton, and Swatch, among others.

While the kidswear segment will be represented by brands like Gini & Jony, Lilliput, and Zapp!, the exclusive womenwear segment will have brands like W, Bizzare, and Jole. Learnings from brands that have expanded into womenswear – like Van Heusen, Park Avenue, Allen Solly, and Blackberrys – will be of key importance for global and Indian brands exploring the Indian womenswear market.

The India retail fraternity will be well represented by major players like Future Group (Pantaloon Retail), Reliance, Shoppers Stop, Spencer’s, Lifestyle, Trent, Globus, Aditya Birla Retail, Indiabulls, Wadhawan, and Bharti Retail.

Rituwears, the Delhi-based retailer with major expansion plans, will hold its vendor meet at Pure and Play.

The inaugural session of Pure and Play conference will delve on the Power of Purse – how it is getting stronger by the day – and will accentuate how brands and retailers can strategise to drive this trend towards business generation.

Branding is still elusive as women seek exclusivity and a huge variety to choose from. The exposure has made this segment extremely demanding, though price-sensitiveness remains. India being a huge a country with varied tastes and cultures, has, indeed, posed an intriguing challenge for organised players in terms of meeting the peculiar demand of the women’s and kids’ market. For a long time, the market has been mostly dominated by menswear.

Retailers realise that personal attention and service to customers cannot be possible without the vendor involvement. However, retail buyers and merchandisers haven’t got an opportunity to meet enough number of enterprising brands that can partner with retailers to add excitement to the category.

To be sure, the category can expand if the concept of fast fashion comes into play. Continuous innovation, new styling, small stock lots, aggressive POS activity with vendor support, and local service can help, and with this backdrop the session on ‘Acquisitions’ will discuss possibilities of large players (brands and retailers/ consolidators) acquiring SMEs to structure the supply chain.

With space becoming exorbitantly expensive, brand and retailers will also share the most confidential information, ‘Returns across various formats’, and also discuss possibilities of collaboration for survival and growth.

Quality and CSR issues will be addressed by two of the world’s largest retailers, Wal-Mart and Gap. Case studies on some of the most successful brands in women’s and kids’ fashion will talk about brand positioning, merchandising, pricing, marketing, advertising & promotion, retail presence, and consumer acceptance & recognition among consumers in India.

The grand finale of the three-day conference, ‘Nokia Images CEO Meet’, will see India’s top fashion and retail CEOs coming together on the stage for an open-house debate on the burning issues impacting the growth of the womenswear and kidswear market. This mega session will be anchored by Anuj Puri, chairman & country head, Jones Lang LaSalle Meghraj, and Jayant Kochar, MD, GoFish Solutions.

India Brand Show

India Brand Show (IBS), a series of fashion shows under the aegis of Fashion Alliance, will see India’s most happening models orchestrating stunning presentations of silhouettes and styles from some of the most powerful brands from the world over. With fashion’s most glamorous setting, IBS emerges as the most effective platform for lifestyle bands to make a statement.

Participants in IBS 2008 include Mango, Reebok, Benetton, Aldo, Nine West, Promod, Charles & Keith, La Senza, Shoe Tree, Bata, W, Rosebys, Park Avenue, Park Avenue Women, Zapp!, Nun, Catmoss, Lilliput, and Okaidi.

Speaking about the retail connect of Pure and Play, Amitabh Taneja says that retail as a medium is about being comprehensive and not selective, keeping the real India in mind. The ‘Real India’ frame has many more people than we think. It is imperative to recognise the section of consumers one is targeting. Organised retail in India has, indeed, gained top speed and is now on the verge of take-off. He further adds that ‘Pure and Play’ will introduce products, services, spaces, ideas and innovations to retailers, and retail concepts to potential franchisees, in addition to equipping young entrepreneurs with necessary support and knowledge. Showcasing the best in retail offering, providing in-depth analysis of retail business trends, and formulating a differential winning strategy, Pure and Play ensures the participation of the very best retail minds from all across India.

“The aim of a fashion retailer is to excite the customer. Hence, the focus of a fashion manufacturer should be on inspiring the retailer. Retailers desire high-quality innovation – in manufacturing, merchandising, trend matching, and merchandise presentation. Fashion merchants aspire for brands and products that are ahead of trends, and for entrepreneurs with the courage and vision to craft implausible innovation,” says Rakesh Biyani.

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