Harry Winston once said, “People will stare. Make it worth their while.” The designer presents his vision on the runway through his craftsmanship. The apparels and accessories designed, articulate his learning, emotions and creativity summed in a collection. A designer, much like an artist wants his creation to reach broader horizons, instead of being limited to the spectators at his fashion show or select metros. For a vast country like India with a lot of population in Tier II and III cities, and the lack of infrastructural support,‘accessibility’ however can be a challenge.
The Indian society broadly has a deep understanding of culture and appreciation for art, which make us a potential market for designer wear, given our natural inclination towards aesthetics. Cities like Pune, Surat, Indore, Chandigarh amongst others have always been high on the fashion radar but with very little or no physical presence from the designers. The challenge of infrastructure, in my opinion, should never withhold the consumers from engaging with enhanced selection of clothes and homegrown designers.
Democratising Designer Wear in India Through E-Commerce
The mature Indian consumer does prefer bespoke products whether art, jewellery or apparel and therefore offering them the exciting opportunity to buy their favourite brand online, on their time and at her convenience makes this an exciting space to build. The uber aim of e-commerce with accessibility and affordability can help democratize designer wear by branding young labels, eclectic designers just breaking into their own as well as the celebrity iconic designer brands all housed together to make sure every customer visiting the store feels suitably inspired but never intimidated.
It’s essential to justify designer wear that combines inspiring aesthetics of designers with high quality imagery and accurate size charts in a bid to replicate their offline experience online. With detailed product pages and information on the designers readily available, the experience replicates each designer’s individual ethos carefully. The products are shipped in special packaging for the dedicated boutique, delighting the customer even further with a compelling shopping experience.
Designer Boutique: Veterans & Emerging Talent on One Platform
Having understood the subtle nuances of this industry and the gaps therein, the Designer Boutique on Amazon Fashion was set up to democratise designer wear in India. The immense potential and demand for dressing well is prevalent across the country, to capitalise on the wide reach of e-commerce only helps in bridging the gaps.
We launched the Designer Boutique in 2017 at the Amazon India Fashion Week Grand Finale, where in we introduced the concept of ‘See Now Buy Now’ (the shop-able runway) for the first time in India. Our customers from across the country engaged with designer wear and the runway at the click of a button, eliminating the wait for their favourite outfit to hit the stores.
The mundane format of a fashion show became engaging and the response generated was tremendous. With 52 designers on boarded on DBA, we took our first step towards a transformation bringing in the new fashion narrative of ‘accessibility, discoverability and selection’ for designer wear in India. At present within a year, we have scaled up to offer 180+ designers, offering a selection from established and emerging designers. The awareness and interest in buying wardrobe pieces that stand out has definitely increased over time.
In essence, this is a new narrative that has served as a platform for younger and emerging designers from across the country to display their selection. For instance, we tied up with Pearl Academy and on boarded selection from students and alumni of the school. This enabled discoverability and inclusivity allowing us to cater to various preferences and pockets. Interestingly, consumers are keen on experimenting with different labels given they have a distinct personality. This is true of non-metros as well. Eventually, the aspiration remains to dress in garments that are handcrafted with care.
Customer Response To Designer Wear Since Launch of DBA
The awareness and interest in buying wardrobe pieces that stand out has definitely increased over time. While accessibility and affordability are crucial, it is essential to create a pleasant shopping experience that justifies the essence of the product sold on the marketplace. The shopping for designer wear has to be a pleasant, engaging and bespoke experience whether online or offline.
To celebrate the first anniversary on DBA, we launched The Treasure Trove, based on our belief that legacy and heritage pieces are not old fashioned or dated, instead must be seen as classic pieces that remain relevant to younger consumers today. This selection of designer pieces allowed us to handpick designs that not only offered a mix of styles but also an affordable range of select pieces that would excite customers’country wide. JJ Valaya, Ritu Kumar, Ashima Leena, Abraham and Thakore, Rajesh Pratap, along with AM PM, Rohit Gandhi Rahul Khanna, Pankaj & Nidhi and the ever youthful Rina Dhaka put together a collection that has sophisticated nuances but also the effervescence and fun that would appeal to our younger consumers with prices starting at Rs 6,000. The boutique has seen immense traction not just in ready to wear labels but also traditional wedding wear. Whilst Treasure Trove is a curated experience with a select number of products on offer; overall the Designer Boutique at Amazon continues to introduce new designers weekly and works closely with a mix of younger labels and well recognized names to continually offer new selection to customers pan country. We have specially focused on creating high quality imagery that will bring out the beauty and versatility of the garment to our customers.
From an online perspective our learnings hint at presenting an engaging buying experience that allows the customers to understand the designer, the product, the sizing and other key inputs before they make a purchase sitting far away in cities like Guwahati, Rajkot, Pune, Chandigarh as well Kochi along with Mumbai, Chennai, Delhi, Bangalore etc.
This is definitely a space that will grow in the near future, it is exciting for us to be a part of the momentum and witness a paradigm shift in the buying behavior of the Indian consumer. The key element here will remain innovation and technology will have a major role to play in offering a comprehensive shopping experience.