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Celio: At the vanguard of fashion innovation

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Founded in 1985 by Marc and Laurent Grosman, European men’s wear major Celio is a forerunner when it comes to innovation – both product wise and socially. In an exclusive feature, IMAGES Business of Fashion gets into a freewheeling chat with , CEO, , to understand the brand’s take on innovation and its recent outcomes…

How does your brand define innovation?

Over the years, Celio has innovated in several diverse aspects. While some of those innovations were directed at building a better business, others were meant to create a more socially-accountable organisation. For example, we ensure ethical sourcing; we have tied up with responsible vendors who are socially accountable with SA8000 and Oeko compliance. Recently, we have launched the Go Green Denims range, which are environment-friendly and uses less water and electricity.

On the marketing front, we adopted engaging gamification techniques to engage with customers. In a recent campaign, Celio launched the Fantastic Football League, an interactive program that crossed 70 lakh+ impressions and broke all previous engagement records.

What are the key innovations that have given a new dimension to your products?

The key innovations this season are Soft Touch and Powerflex range of denims along with our range of reversible shirts and light jackets. With a unique blend of fabric made in Italy, the Soft Touch Celio Denims are as comfortable as they are chic. The special twill weave confers a very soft feel. The yarn quality, T400, mixed with Lycra brings comfort and good recovery to the garment. The Celio Soft Touch range extends to t-shirts, sweaters and shirts creating an entire range of relaxed, comfort wear keeping the fashion quotient intact.

The Powerflex range of denims is yet another super comfortable denim with a unique fabric blend that ensures high stretch ability with comfort. This innovative technology by Celio with its extreme elasticity Power Flex gives you great freedom of movement.

Throw light on your design capabilities. What are key design factors which stand out as your USP?

Celio’s head office is in Paris, one of the fashion capitals of the world. The design team based out Paris ensures that the collections in every season reflects the key fashion trends. The team also travels to key fashion markets across the globe like New York, Japan and Italy to adapt the key trends within the brand.

How many collections do you plan in a year and how is this worked in, in correlation with the customers demand?

The year largely is divided into two seasons – Summer and Winter. The season is launched with an early summer collection which is around February, also a transition from winter to summer. The early summer collection is followed by a full/ peak summer collection, that features comparatively vibrant colors, fresher styles as the summer sets in full swing.

Again, the transition from summer to winter is followed by a bridge collection which is also the holiday season. By August, we launch the season with a fresh collection of early winter range which is also the onset of the festive period in India. Finally, it is followed by the full/ peak winter collection comprising of complete winter wearrange be it jackets, outwear, sweaters or sweatshirts.

How do you define affordability with great products in your collection?

Our collections are very reasonably priced. We have launched a range of washed fashion denim at just Rs 1,999 catering to everyday need of the consumer. We also have the immensely popular Celio biker jackets starting from only Rs 3,999.

Technology is becoming the biggest enforcer today. Tell us, in details, how you employ technology at the production stage?

Technology is aiding in the retail production process and helping various organizations to not only churn out better fashion but also become more socially accountable. For example, novel ways to use less water and electricity during production of various denim products. We are also increasingly looking at partners and vendors who can reduce lead time and increase profitability by using innovative methods of construction and technology. There is a lot of other technologies that we leverage such as robotic stream stress machines, laser cutting machines, etc.

Is your brand working on smart clothing?

Honestly, while we are following and looking at the category seriously on a global level, we feel that in India, this trend is yet to catch up as the back-end technology to support smart clothing needs to develop first. What I can tell you is that, we would surely be ready to ride the wave when it takes off across the world.

How do you define transparency behind the making of the product and the raw material used?

Like I told you, ethical sourcing is a priority at Celio. We have tied up with responsible vendors who are socially accountable with SA8000 and Oeko compliance. The brand audits these vendors annually and ranks them through a rating system ensuring that the right kind of raw material is used while creating our products.

In this eco-friendly age, how well are Celio’s product ideas linked to sustainability?

We put immense importance to leave a positive and sustainable imprint and hence, we are constantly looking out for technology to make garment manufacturing eco-friendlier. We also give value to recycling products.

Decode your future working on product development and the new initiatives being taken Celio for us.

Retail is an extremely dynamic sector and the new age consumers are constantly changing purchasing tastes, so setting up a workflow that makes production adapt to these changing needs will be the key to success for brands. We are working closely with partners to build a much nimbler production and supply chain network which will help us imagine, customize, product and repeat.