Future Retail CEO, Kishore Biyani, known to continuously innovate and reinvent himself, recently launched the first store of his ambitious fast fashion brand, Cover Story at Infiniti Mall in Malad, a Mumbai suburb.
The brand, which aims to take international brands like Zara and H&M head on, is all set to launch another store in DLF Mall of India, Noida. It has been positioned so after the company conducted extensive market research and received customer insights to help it tap into the current, and vibrant fast fashion market.
What is Fast Fashion?
Fast fashion is used to describe designs that move from the catwalk to the shop floor extremely quickly, essentially capturing current trends. Retailers introduce new styles in quick succession, urging customers to make repeat purchases before a style exits the shop floor.
Globally, fast fashion is the fastest growing segment in apparel and lifestyle retail, made popular by brands like Uniqlo, H&M and Zara that are known to refresh their inventory and offer new collections to their consumers every week, and in some cases, twice a week.
Considering that Indian fashion is also evolving at a rapid pace, incorporating global trends and sensibilities, Biyani decided to launch Cover Story and seize the opportunity by creating an international design hub, a niche retail concept and a solid supply chain management.
Here’s what went inside Future Group before it came up with India’s first fast fashion brand:
The Creation of Future Style Lab
Future Style Lab, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Future Group, was created to develop cutting edge fast fashion from its London hub.
It was incorporated in 2015 under the leadership of Manjula Tiwari who comes with over 23 years of experience in the world of fashion retail. Her team leverages over 20 years’ of experience in London’s high street fashion and Future Group’s immense expertise in sourcing, manufacturing & supply chain management.
Extensive Market Research
The team travelled across India covering metros and tier-II cities over three months to deep-dive into consumer behaviour and buying patterns. This covered:
- Market Visits and Focus Groups
- Wardrobe Audits
- Personal Interviews
- Street Photography
- Western wear is growing at 25-30 per cent and the sector is getting more organised.
- Foreign brands are increasing the pie for all players. Estimates place the women’s western wear market at Rs 20,000 crore.
- However, there exists a gap between high-priced luxury segments and low-priced luxury segment and low-priced unorgranised brands, between the price point of Rs 1,000-5,000.
- Domestic brands do not offer fresh, global trends in a fast fashion format or focus on fusion wear.
- International brands are expensive and not curated for the Indian context.
- Western wear now occupies a larger share of the Indian woman’s wardrobe in metros and the trend is catching up in tier II cities.
- Styling is still a new language. Putting together a look at a nascent stage.
- Indians are shopping more than ever before and demanding newness and fresh collections.
- Shopping frequency is on the rise and averages around 8-10 times per year.
- Social media is helping people get well versed with global fashion trends
- The challenge, however, is to find a balance in adapting western wear to our cultural context.
- Some customers said they shopped for international brands only during sales.
What Sets Cover Story Apart From Others?
- A London Design Team: which captures the latest trends around global fashion hubs.
- Sourcing & Manufacturing: Quickly moves catwalk designs to the floor and brings new styles every week.
- Vast Retail Experience: Partners with data science giant Dunhumby for microscopic insights into millions of customers.
Who is the Cover Story Woman?
- The target audience is the 23 to 40 year old, financially independent woman with a rising disposable income which
she loves to splurge on frequent shopping trips.
- She thrives on social media, is a traveller in spirit and and embraces new experiences. She frequently seeks to refresh her wardrobe.
- Feminine and eclectic, she switches effortlessly between Indian and western wear. Dressing up for her is a form of self-expression. She is modern but rooted.
- For the fashion-loving and value-conscious Indian woman, Cover Story delivers the latest from the fashion capitals of the world, while it is still ‘the latest’.
- Luxurious experience yet affordable priced.
- Polished and trendy clothes that exude a posh feel and easy glamour.
- Subtle, thoughtful detailing with feminine and flattering silhouettes.
- Styles that give her the confidence of being globally fashionable.
The Way Forward
A mall-focused brand is all set to establish its retail presence in 30 cities across India by 2018. The fashionista gets a luxurious yet affordable shopping experience.