When it comes to casual wear, denim takes the crown as a fabric. It is easy to dress up, dress down, and fits varies style statements. Numero Uno has carved a new niche in the Indian denim fashion space with affordable style as its mojo. Manjula Gandhi, Chief Product Officer, Numero Uno, explains how.
Denim has come a long way from being a commodity-driven to a fashion-driven lifestyle product for all genders and age groups. There has been a barrage of new washes, dyes, and colours in the mood board, inspiring designers to experiment and break barriers in wearability. Over the years, Numero Uno has created a ripple effect in the denim industry with steadfast technological progress. Today, the brand offers eight product categories such as T-shirts, shirts, sweatshirts, and Knit & Sweaters, some of which were not experimented in this sector by any other brand before.
The key to their innovation is a state-of-the-art laundry which upped the level of washing quality for denim. In addition to that, a collaboration with Jeanologia, a Spanish washing expert brand, has been maintaining an edge over competition based on washes and dyes for 15 years and counting. “Laundry is the backbone of denim and Numero Uno’s tech-first approach helped adopt sustainable practices such as ozone fading, while making all sorts of trendy washes. We don’t use bleach. We use mineral dyes that induce natural colours, along with green chemicals and washing agents,” says Gandhi.
On grounds of eco-friendly manufacturing, the CPO also draws attention to the installation of an advanced, zero-liquid discharge Effluent treatment Plant (ETP). This ETP ensures complete recycling and reuse of water used during manufacture.
How Numero Uno bagged Market Share
Numero Uno was the brainchild of Narinder Singh Dhingra, the managing director, who started Hi Fashion Clothing in 1987 as a small denim product manufacturing system, which was supplying to few retailers. Recall value increased as customers and trade peers asked for the attractive customized washes and fabric that the brand had been developing and using exclusively. Renamed as Numero Uno, the brand now caters to an entire wardrobe with its verticals and is constantly pushing boundaries with this fabric.
No longer is denim a style-high but comfort-poor choice. With power stretches, knitted denim, and blended denim comprising soft yarns, a soft feel and ease of movement are given. According to Gandhi, the brand conducts thorough social listening and market research to execute designs that are high on style yet affordable, thus satisfying the price-conscious Indian market. This involves pricing the products reasonably during inflationary times, which has helped maximize market share by understanding and aligning with consumer spending behavior.
Demand uptick Post Pandemic
Denim enjoys a wide consumer base and has done consistently well in India. There were two instances during the pandemic when competition from cargoes and chinos on one hand, and athleisure on the other, slumped denim’s demand temporarily. That’s because a strictly indoor lifestyle prioritized comfort that a fabric meant for outdoor wear couldn’t fulfil back then.
As lockdowns were lifted and people got back to office, India witnessed drastic casualization of fashion. Power stretches in denim helped the vertical compete with athleisure. “Today, denim is more acceptable in offices and professional spaces. Easy wearability and high durability are two factors ensuring value for money, which is very important in Indian market,” Gandhi maintains.
Consumer product centricity is altering after pandemic and Numero Uno is evolving its production, marketing, and communication strategies. “We have expanded from print, radio, television to influencer marketing across social and digital platforms, which promotes our brand to the target audience effectively. Actor Jim Sarbh was one of the faces of our collection launches and media events.
“Instead of having mega celebs as brand ambassadors, Numero Uno works on enhancing the boy-next-door image with upcoming artists and models, which resonate amazingly with our audience,” concludes Gandhi, as she talks about the adventurous, colorful Summer 2023 collection available now, and the upcoming Winter ‘23 range.