As the vanguard of the online global fashion and lifestyle brand, director & ceo Anurag Rajpal has been spearheading American Swan into making it the epitome of young, dynamic, aspirational and affordable fashion across the globe. Having steered through the retail sector commendably, Rajpal has earned the viable expertise and immense knowledge that he imparts in the functioning of the brand.
It is said to be ‘the fashion staple’, an adage true in every sense. A t-shirt is an all-time wear not just abroad but also in India. It is a classic trendsetter that can be adapted by every individual. What makes it popular is its quality of being an all-day comfortwear. T-shirt is a unique style statement that can lend a variety of looks by numerous styling options, which are now available.
A t-shirt paired with jeans is a popular classic look inspired by western culture, which is now being increasingly adapted in India. Originally, a t-shirt was worn as an undershirt but now it is a popular standout wear. In fact, Friday dressings have brought the t-shirt culture even to the work place.
Another growing demand in this category is graphic tees. The youth today want to don quirky messages, quotes and various graphics on their apparel. Graphic tees make it possible to depict on them what they are feeling.
A wardrobe essential among the youth, t-shirts are no more classi?ed as just casualwear. The Indian youth has been experimenting with t-shirts to enhance their look, whether it is for a formal event or a casual affair; t-shirts are smart and at the same time comfortable to wear and easy to carry.
T-shirts now are a trend wear in almost all the fashion-conscious countries. T-shirts have always been in vogue in India and are a staple wear for every age group. Comparison is dif?cult as India has a variety of other dressing options for men and women, which other European countries would not have.The modern-day Indian has carried tees to of? ces, colleges and all sorts of work places. The choices in the t-shirt market are huge; the market is offering various styles, colours, sleeve variations, collar variations, graphics, etc.
To put it simply, t-shirts are a superb medium to express one’s individuality, especially graphic tees. They have been highly accepted by the Indian youth because of their quirkiness and ability to make a style statement. The youth is all for experimentation these days.
T-shirts are a core category both in terms of product mix as well as inventory buy. American Sawn has introduced a range of t-shirts for the youth, which is trend-led and affordable in terms of price-point. The t-shirts for men are starting at Rs. 499 to Rs 1,499, and for women at Rs. 499 to Rs. 1,199.
There was a time when t-shirts were perceived as an item for the youth only. However, that scenario has changed over the years. Adults above 40 years are now moving more into comfortwear and t-shirts. The older generation, however, tries to keep it subtle; Polo t-shirts are the perfect way to go.
While, homegrown t-shirt brands are hardly facing any major challenges or concerns, however, the iconicity and brand value of the International brands have not been replicated by any homegrown brand. That is the potential that can be tapped into and American Swan with its range is hoping to hit this spot. We are striving to provide our customers with International quality, designs and styling at an affordable price-point. We will soon be working on ‘niche’ brand extension categories and through innovative marketing to create the buzz and make the brand iconic. All of this has been planned for towards the end of this year.
In the absence of a good product, the brand has to struggle to sustain long-term success. This was one of the factors that American Swan had focused at right from the beginning, besides targeting right marketing campaigns, including an active social presence and creating right partnerships and alliances. Another key factor is our hybrid business model, i.e., reaching out to our target audience through both retail and online channels. Our presence in MBOs, through SIS and an active listing on top e-commerce websites have ampli?ed our brand trials and purchase. Online marketing can be effective through three key channels: social media, high visibility branding, and programmatic media buying. All of these help in creating brand awareness, performance marketing to yield sales, and social media to drive engagement and loyalty. There are other aspects like blogger activation and engagement, aligning on partnerships with brands, a strong af?liate and alliances network, etc.
Bread & Butter, Magic Las Vegas, Premier Vision Paris – almost all the major trade shows feature the trends: styling, colour, fabric, etc. across apparel segments. The future of designer t-shirts in India has huge potential if done right. At the end of the day, differentiation is the key even in apparel and lifestyle segment. If the designs and styling can strike a chord with the youth-led audience, there can be a huge market for this segment. We are looking at retail in a very unique perspective.
We have already conceptualised and planned digitally led brand experience stores. The core idea behind this is to create an iconic brand, Zone, where a potential customer can touch and feel our products; and actively use innovative digital content to browse, share, review and order. We will look at this format when the time is right. In terms of a primary marketing and sales channels, e-commerce and m-commerce will be our key focus areas. Customer response, sell-throughs, re-af?rmation of the brand and product success from online aggregators are things that keep me and my team going.
We have received very good response from our audience, who have speci?cally acknowledged the product styling and quality as well as our customer service. American Swan, came from two key drivers, ‘America’, the land of opportunity, the good values of the ‘American Dream’ that allows people to craft their own destiny; ‘Swan’, a graceful, elegant yet powerful bird which has signi?cance even in the Indian mythological context. American Swan delivers a distinctive connection between the old and the new, epitomising a dynamism that is born of a passion for setting trends. What is unique in the presentation of our designs, website or storefront is the distinctive International imagery, bold bright colours of the products, easy navigation and differentiated content: product description, styling tips, blogs and trends section.
Our customer service is ef?cient and effective, and we offer customers multiple payment options. A good customer service helps in brand sustenance. It is one of the vital elements for a brand to succeed and sustain its loyalty with the customers. Today, we have the tools, processes and services that allow customers to interact and address their feedback and concerns through multiple channels: telephone, SMS, online, social channels, etc. We have an active brand monitoring mechanism that allows us to track and address any positive or negative feedback and respond in a prompt and speedy manner.