One of the many advantages of India today is it’s bustling middle class and a huge population with buying power under the age of 30. With education, comes awareness. And with the basic necessities of life addressed and put on the back burner, India is bursting with a brand conscious consumer. High street brands like Gap, H&M, Zara, Forever 21 and Ikea amongst others have long seen the opportunity this poses and worked hard to get the local laws to work in their favor. While having access to these brands locally rather than traveling to neighboring Dubai or Singapore is great, its the evolving local designer base that is able to capitalize on this opportunity the most.
You all know my long standing love for Sabyasachi (see a tour of his Mumbai flagship here) and the brand value he has created for himself. At the launch of his new stand-alone store in Delhi, I could not help but draw parallels to the “lifestyle” he is building, very similar to how Ralph Lauren became the founder of sportswear in America.
When I think of Sabyasachi – I think of consistent branding albeit a more evolved brand since it’s inception. But still, you find remnants of the dorky librarian wearing her Sabyasachi with retro glasses that we found in his earlier work. He also introduced the idea of sportswear to Indian clothes that was very simple to adapt.
When you walk into a Sabyasachi or Ralph Lauren store – you know you are in their perfectly orchestrated landscape. They both understand the value of setting the ambiance – be it with lighting or scent. They are both aficionados of good art and their stores reflect this. Sabyasachi founded his art foundation and Ralph Lauren has one of the most enviable collections of vintage cars. They both set the stage to make sure you want to spend all you’ve got in the bank. Having met both of them, I also can’t help but draw parallels on how reserved and shy they both are too. You know you have to be part of the inner circle to really get to know them.
They have both also understood the value of collaborating to reach a new customer. Sabyasachi was very smart in his collaboration with Louboutin because he knew that’s what his bride was wearing anyways. Now he get’s the cache of exclusivity as well. He is also being very strategic with servicing every need of his bridal party – working with jewelers and trunk providers alike.
The world quite literally is Sabyasachi’s oyster and I cannot wait to see what new tricks he has up his sleeves. I can’t help but let my imagination run wild (because I know how much he likes his food) and can see a restaurateur in the make. With so many other facets of wardrobing still open – like watches, millinery, diffusion lines, I just hope I don’t have to wake from this lovely Sabya dream.
Images from various sources on the web