Japanese retailers such as DeuxiemeClasse in Osaka and Birdhouse in Tokyo, Story in New York, Easybuy and Breya in India are some brands that are as different as cheese and chalk, yet surprisingly,they have common strings that tie them together.
While DeuxiemeClasse and Birdhouse are known for their curated, theme-based collections, Story is a retail concept that promotes change in fashion collection every four to eight weeks, mostly inspired by the gallery concept and its collection. Often, the products on display are centred around daily life ideas such as ‘Home for the Holidays’, ‘Love’ or ‘Made in America’, that deeply resonate with its customers.
When globally, the fashion world is catching up to the need of curated retail, can Indian, one of the fastest growing retail industries be left far behind? From a mere $680 billion market in 2017, the Indian retail industry is expected to be worth a whopping $1.2 trillion by 2020.
As more and more consumers turn to their mobile phones to buy fashion and with such concentration of customers spread across geographical zones, the idea of fashion limited to certain places are blurring, feel industry experts.
Commenting on this evolving need to curate retail, Hyderabad-based fashion retailer Breya’s creative director Tanvi Agarwal, says, “The fashion industry has evolved from being constricted to now being seen in a more open and positive light. Designers today focus on launching a coherent based collection taking inspiration from their daily lives. Also, with digital media playing a big role in influencing brand perception, it is becoming even more critical to being able to tell a story through our collection that can resonate with the customers.”
For instance, Breya’scollections are inspired by various themes starting from vintage gardens around the world to a tribute to Indian architecture through its Irayat theme. All these themes are designed in line with the interests of their target customers, aged between 25 and 40, says Tanvi.
What is curated retail?
Fashion retailers, in a bid to offer choicest collections to their customers instead of hounding them with plenty of options,choose curated retail. The designs are well-researched, meet the expectations of target customers, and sometimes even theme-based.
Global B2B commerce network Hubbawhich examined trends that will takeover retail industry, in its study ‘The Curated Future- why less selection, not more, will be the defining trend of 2018’, speaks about the need for curated fashion.
“The future of retail will not be about having a large variety of products, but rather the next generation of retailers will win over consumers with their thoughtful curation of products. They may curate an assortment of products for one specific type of customer or center their product selection around an aspect of consumers’ lifestyles, across different product categories,” the report asserts.
Curating fashion in tier II, III cities
“My personal feeling is Indian customers will always be value conscious although they feel the need to spend on clothes,” says Easybuy senior vice-president Anand Aiyer. Easybuy, an arm of Max Fashion, is carefully made for the customers in tier II and tier III cities and since these are the customers who are getting exposed to fashion at a fast pace, curated fashion becomes very important, says Aiyer.
“While quality and price play a key role, curated fashion also plays a major role in introducing a brand to customers and as we build a brand image. Hence, while we pick up trends from global arena, we make sure the products and collection are suited to meet the interests of these customers,” he says.
Themes are major attractions too
In the past 2 years since its launch, the startup has done 5 collections comprising of 12 themes. For instance, one of Breya’s Autumn Festive collections ‘Tick Tack Toe’ was on ode to childhood memories of board games such as snake and ladder andLudo. “The designers blend the best of the both to create stories that customers can relate to,” says Tanvi.
Commenting about the theme-based fashion, Tanvi, says, “Theme or inspiration based fashion helps fashion brands to connect with customers with a story or a different line of thought. They relate to a particular collection better when they appreciate the inspirations and the theme behind the collection. For brands that primarily drive success from their unique design philosophy, it is very important to do theme-based trends and not just copy forecasted trends.”
End goal- engage customers!
The reportrightly concludes that with this new retail trend it is the customer who is winner. It says, “The consumer wins in this new retail reality. Embracing the shift to a curated future represents the chance for retailers to create true engagement with customers and set themselves up for a sustainable future.”