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Hand in hand with the most sought after designers of the subcontinent, the clientele of Kimaya reads like a never-ending list of the coolest cats in Bollywood such as Kareena Kapoor, Sushmita Sen, Katrina Kaif, Rekha and many more. Pradeep Hirani, Chairma
Pradeep Hirani

Hand in hand with the most sought after designers of the subcontinent, the clientele of Kimaya reads like a never-ending list of the coolest cats in Bollywood such as Kareena Kapoor, Sushmita Sen, Katrina Kaif, Rekha and many more. Pradeep Hirani, Chairman, Kimaya Fashion Pvt. Ltd speaks about how he is redefining and setting new standards of excellence and innovation in retailing high-fashion designer couture in India.  

Jasmeet Sahi (JS): What encouraged you to enter into fashion retailing in India?
Pradeep Hirani (PH):
About six years ago, I remember the Indian fashion industry, as being fraught with a chaotic retail environment and lacking discipline. To infuse business acumen beneath the sheen of couture; reaping rewards for designers and of course for the client, Kimaya was born. The philosophy behind the concept was to make the business of fashion its forte and that has been our endeavour till date. Before the launch of Kimaya, I was in the garment export business, but the potential in the Indian fashion industry beckoned me.  

JS: Were there any hurdles that you faced when starting out with your retail stores in India?
PH:
The Indian fashion industry, still in its formative stages was disorganised, and this was quite a challenge for us. However, we endeavoured to apply standardised industry practices in our business; ranging from sizing, quality control and delivery schedules, adherence to international forecast models amongst others. But since the designer fraternity wasn’t geared to it at that time, there was a constant problem of unsteady supply of merchandise which was slowing down our expansion plans in the initial phase. Nevertheless, we persevered to overcome the same, by handholding designers through guidance, infrastructural support ranging from financial to production facilities and marketing push. 

JS: Where all is Kimaya present in India?
PH:
Kimaya currently operates 14 stores in India. Within a year of its launch, Kimaya became the first Indian fashion house to go international. Kimaya, Dubai was launched in 2004, with an exclusive Middle-Eastern look and feel, both to the store and the collections. Going forward, Kimaya is taking the couture culture to new hotspots like Ludhiana, Hyderabad, Chandigarh, Kolkatta, Noida, Pune, Nagpur, Ahmedabad and other cities in India. 

JS: Which designers have you partnered with? Are there any international names which are available at Kimaya?
PH:
While Kimaya launched with 26 leading designers in its portfolio, in just six years, that number has multiplied to over 146 designers. The Indian array includes the likes of Tarun Tahiliani, Rohit Bal, Suneet Varma, Narendra Kumar, Manish Arora, Raghavendra Rathore and many more. Meanwhile, the international labels range from the Italian veteran Versus to Maxmara, Trussardi, Valentino, Michel Perry and Etro. Today Kimaya is India’s largest fashion house and since its inception, has been the largest buyer at the Indian Fashion Weeks, consistently.  

JS: The concept of luxury fashion shopping is nascent in India. Do you see it picking up in the near future?
PH:
I am of the firm belief that luxury might seem to be a mirage today, but it is bound to become a fashion epidemic tomorrow in India. The culture of luxury fashion shopping has begun to seep through. According to an industry estimate, the market opportunity for luxury in India is nine per cent and is growing at 25 per cent annually. Experts say, India and China are the two markets that will play a substantial role in propping up the fashion luxury retail business.  

JS: What are Kimaya’s future plans? There was talk of online shopping, when can shoppers avail that benefit?
PH:
Plans are afoot for the soon to be launched store at Madison Avenue, New York. The other target is to achieve a retail footprint across multiple formats in top-spending cities of the country. And, we will work towards establishing linkages with veteran fashion labels from overseas, for their Indian foray. Online shopping is a very interesting territory and Kimaya will be joining the bandwagon in the next few months. Latest and most exciting creations from leading fashion designers will only be a click away and one can place orders for them, from any corner in the world.  

 
 
 

Pradeep Hirani, Chairman, Kimaya
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