Over the last century, change has been a constant parameter in India; the entire nation and its people have grown from strength to strength on all frontiers. And, in Indian fashion retail, it is Raymond Group, which has best exemplified this essence.
The brand has been successful in reaching success despite several unforeseen, high magnitude disruptions including excise levies, demonetization, and GST, over the last two years. Given that VUCA environment is only intensifying and given the company’s commitment to providing growth opportunities for internal talent, the brand has promoted Bidyut Bhanjdeo to Brand Director – Ethnix and Next Look. Out of these, sub-brand Ethnix has emerged as a high-growth opportunity for Raymond in the last one year.
As the name suggests, Ethnix provides a complete range of ethnic wear from basic kurtas to stylized heavy sherwanis to bundis, bandhgalas. There’s even Indo-Western wear and cocktail suits on offer. The brand’s core values is to have an understated style, which is elegant on the lines of Raymond and its unique cut/ style. While kurtas, bundis and Indo-Western looks are popular among men, saris, salwar kurtis and lehenga cholis are popular among women.
Design is the USP of brand Ethnix since its target customer is the teenage crowd, college going youth and the young, working class apart from newly-weds. The major consumption drivers are in the age group of 25 to 35.
“The brand takes creating exclusive collections seriously, going through a very long research and development procedure, which includes market research and understanding future trends, leading up to the final execution of the product. We are working on a collection called ‘To India from India’,” explains Bidyut Bhanjdeo, Brand Director – Next Look & Ethnix. He says Ethnix collections are usually inspired by Indian traditional techniques and art forms and they use more of handloom fabrics in products in a bid to revive crafts like Ikat and Kalamkari.
Changing Nature of Occasion Wear in India
With growing awareness of global fashion trends, urban India embraced consumerism and has since been brimming with brands offering the consumer an improved shopping experience the occasion wear market in India has witnessed aggressive growth.
“With more designers entering the menswear segment and existing ones focusing more on the upper middle class and middle class weddings, we can expect the market to each up to 40 percent of the wedding industry. This is a huge driver of the Indian Occasion Wear segment,” says Bhanjdeo.
For a large percentage the media is responsible for the growing awareness in the latest trends which triggers the fashion in the general population. To keep up with the change in Occasion Wear trends, Ethnix has recently introduced its new category ‘Smart Ethnix’ which is casual wear with an ethnic touch. This includes short kurtas, lightweight bundis, Polo pants and kurta-bundi sets. Fabrics like linen and cotton have been used in this category.
Category Expansion & Product Innovation
The Indian wedding industry is a whooping Rs. 100,000 to Rs. 110,000 crore and it is only flourishing with each passing season and the men’s wedding market for Sherwanis and Jodhpuris is around 15 percent of this. Capitalising on this, Ethnix has launched its recent collection inspired from Meenakari art work.
“Stylish and trendy new-cut sherwanis, long cut kurtas in pastel shades like rose pink, turq and mint green along with traditional colors like beige, gold and shades of red make up our new collection of Sherwanis and Jodhpuris,” says Bhanjdeo.
Ethnix is growing categories each season on overall ratio and has planned an expansion of almost 50 percent over the next two seasons.
Ethnix is also always working on product innovation. For instance, the brand is offering in-store visuals in terms of product images, so the customer knows how to accessorize his/her ensemble. Apart for catering to the mass market, the brand is also into making bespoke garments.
“We are constantly working on developing new fabrics, taking inspiration from international trends in terms of colors, cuts and design sensibilities. We are looking at brands like Fendi for embroidery inspirations, and also working very closely with the interiors of Varanasi for the fabrics. So, in a way we have our eyes on all sectors and segments,” explains Bhanjdeo.
He adds: “We go to clusters of Varanasi – India’s handloom fabric hub – and sit with weavers and mesh different blends of fabric to create something new, something sustainable. For linings and trims we work towards developing our own branded buttons and linings which are more on the lines of top-end international designers.”
Currently, Ethnix has a pan India presence through The Raymond Shop network and MBOs. The brand is retailed from 40 Raymond EBOs, 5 large format stores and 360 MBOs. Going ahead, apart from enhancing their presence across all channels, there is a plan to open 15 stand-alone Ethnix EBOs.
“Ehnix – which had a turnover of Rs. 18 crore in FY16-17 – is also available on Raymond Next, our own online portal and is listed in most of the online market places. We are planning to scale-up to a Rs. 100 crore brand soon,” concludes Bhanjdeo.