The Indian fashion branding and retail segments were virtually non-existent when Yogesh Shetty decided to enter the garmenting business with the launch of Springfield Fashions nearly 30 years ago.
Since 1986, Springfield Fashions , which began as a manufacturer of readymade garments, especially trousers in terry wool blends and polyviscose blends, has been expanding its reach into the Indian domestic fashion retail market. Currently manufacturing a wide range of formal as well as casual shirts and trousers for men, it has also expanded into the men’s suits segment as well as the women’s designerwaer segment with the launch of in-house brand VS.
The company has long been associated with some of India’s top textile manufacturing mills, including Banswara Syntex, Alok Textiles, among others. Using this back-end production strength, Springfield also undertakes contract manufacturing on large volumes for various fashion brands across India.
The company’s range of in-house brands includes labels such as Springfield, Dark Slates, YSF (Yogi Shetty Fashions), SGK (Suave Guru King of Style), and most recently, VS designerwear.
Having come a long way since inception, Springfield is now actively scouting franchise opportunities across India, with average store size of 600 square feet.
“When we started in 1986, Indian consumers preferred customised stitching,” Shetty reminisces. “I was well connected with the worsted suiting business, so we started with trousers. But now the demand has moved towards readymade suits. Customisation is preferred mainly at the top end. And top end brands have created a very big demand for the men’s suits category,” he adds.
With his eye on retailing through the franchise route now, Shetty is upbeat about the challenges the sector will present. “I enjoy being in retail because the detailing aspect is challenging and requires great attention,” he says.
While he is optimistic on the prospects for his brands, Shetty does admit that finding the requisite human talent will be one of the biggest bottlenecks. “Getting achievers and talent in our industry is always a problem,” he notes.
Going forward, he believes buiolding a strong logistics framework and investments in technology will be critical to drive awareness and brand value. This is something he believes all retailers needs to attend to immediately. “To achieve full potential, Indian retailers must drive robust logistics and deploy the latest retail and marketing technologies. Also, continuous training of staff in retail in an absolute must.”