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Fashionably fabulous: FabAlley and Indya

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Today, the parent brand High Street Essentials has over 500 offline retail touch points and is currently focusing on expanding the D2C footprint of its brands

Bengaluru: The Indian fashion industry has transformed with the explosion of online fashion. And High Street Essentials, with its iconic women’s fashion brands FabAlley and Indya, has grown to acquire new audiences who have discovered the convenience and ease of shopping online.

Story of growth

When Shivani Poddar and Tanvi Malik were starting their fashion business, there was a growing demand for affordable women’s western wear. “What existed in the market did not fit the budget of the average girl who was becoming increasingly aware of global fashion but did not have the avenues to shop from.

A stray conversation on these pain points with Tanvi Malik (now my co-partner) led to the birth of our company High Street Essentials Pvt Ltd in 2012,” shares Shivani Poddar.

The company started with FabAlley as a fashion- forward western wear brand, and in 2016, launched Indya to cater to the burgeoning fusion-wear industry. “We realised that a lot of women in the age group of 25 to 40 do not want to wear traditional ethnic wear that has been designed the same way for generations. These women have a moderately western lifestyle and are looking for something modern, trendy and in line with what is happening in fashion globally. Hence, we started Indya, which has the perfect mix of traditional Indian and global fashion influences,” explains Tanvi Malik.

Innovation at the core

FabAlley and Indya provide innovative and original designs to fashion-loving, value-conscious Indian women. “FabAlley understands the evolving western-wear needs unique to Indian women and focuses on providing 360-degree wardrobe solutions for all occasions—something that western brands retailing in India are unable to achieve,” says Poddar.

FabAlley also has a sub-brand called Curve that caters to plus-sized women. “With Curve, we have tapped into the burgeoning yet highly under-serviced market of plus-sized women’s clothing, where too few brands provide too little versatility in terms of design and trend-centricity,” adds Poddar. Indya, on the other hand, focuses on creating affordable fusion-wear garments for the evolved Indian woman who is rooted in culture and yet modern in her outlook. “Our clothes break the cultural code and move beyond staid traditional designs. They are extremely now and utilitarian yet supremely glamorous,” shares Malik. But what Indya has disrupted the market with is affordable designer wear. “Each year we collaborate with India’s leading designers to bring out a capsule collection that seamlessly fuses their design language with ours. We have created an online high street for Indian designer wear [www. houseo of] that has democratised fashion and introduced our audience to products and designers that may not be accessible to them otherwise,” explains Malik.

Being customer ready

Today’s new-age customers seek brands and products that have a narrative, a personality, a strong ethos, and values that match theirs. “So, our strategy has always been to make our customers engage and relate with us and not just push out products to them—more so during the pandemic.

On social media, and through newsletters, we have been engaging with our audience on aspects of their life that move beyond fashion,” conveys Poddar. From Covid-19 resources and snippets on well-being, fitness and mental health, to slice-of-life pieces and fun takes on the new normal, the company has done it all.

Today, with a thriving online business and over 500 offline retail touch points, High Street Essentials is one of India’s leading omnichannel fashion houses. The company is currently focusing on expanding the D2C footprint of its brands by adding more personalised solutions to proprietary web and app products and increasing the brands’ presence via global e-commerce conglomerates. “We are also working towards making our supply chain more agile by moving key production processes such as printing and
embroidering in-house, thus enabling a 30-day mind-to-market production turn-around that is comparable to global fashion leaders such as Zara and Boohoo,” says Malik. The company is also nurturing a new sub-brand ‘Indya Luxe’ to cater to the premium occasion wear category. Moreover, after two successful collections with fashion designers Ashish N Soni and Ridhi Mehra this year, the company is looking at increasing its designer collaborations for both Indya and FabAlley in 2023.

Brownie Points

  • Until 2016, High Street Essentials was a single-brand fashion house (with FabAlley), catering only to the western-wear needs of modern women. But the addition of Indya to the company’s brand portfolio not only added to its product offerings but also marked its growth story by contributing to 60% of its business.
  • Before 2017, High Street Essentials only sold online through its website and a few e-marketplaces. Today, the company, having forayed into offline retail, has over 500 points of sale across the country including at more than 30 exclusive brand outlets and large-format stores like Shoppers Stop, Lifestyle, Reliance Trends, Central and Globus.
  • In 2018, the company began expanding its footprint internationally via its brands’ websites. International orders now account for 20% of its business and the number is only growing further.
  • The company introduced its first successful collection in collaboration with fashion designer Nikhil Thampi in 2019. Since then it has collaborated with five designers, all bringing their own unique design aesthetic to the table.

First appeared in The India D2C Yearbook 2022

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