Global and Indian Fashion Houses

Global Fashion Giants: Gucci and Louis Vuitton In order to understand the key success factors required for any fashion powerhouse to succeed in the global scenario, we decided to look at two of the world’s largest fashion conglomerates – Gucci and Louis Vuitton. We looked at the evolution of these companies and also at the different strategies these companies have employed over time to achieve the position in the world fashion market they have today. This analysis helped us in figuring out the feasibility of a similar fashion powerhouse emerging from a country like India.
The complete listing of our findings from these 2 companies from the cases we analyzed is given in Exhibit 1. Shanghai Tang – the Chinese lifestyle brand After looking at the cases of the 2 global giants, we figured that the context and market in which these companies have operated are completely different from what the same would be for a company emerging from India. In order to understand the aspects of establishing a fashion powerhouse in an Indian context, we took a look at Shanghai Tang, the leading Chinese lifestyle brand.
Similar to India, the Chinese market also has a niche segment in the global fashion market, and hence the learning from this company helped us better understand the issues, challenges, key success factors, etc. , for a fashion powerhouse emerging from India. Our findings from analysis of the Shanghai Tang company are given in Exhibit 2. Names in Indian Fashion Although the Indian fashion industry is projected to grow at a high rate of close to 10%, the industry is still largely fragmented with no major fashion powerhouse that provides holistic fashion solutions to its customers.

There is still no single fashion house to compete with companies like Gucci or Louis Vuitton. Though there are a lot of individual designers with famous international icons in their list of clientele, none of them seem to have the potential to emerge as a global fashion powerhouse in the near future. An important noticeable trend in Indian fashion houses so far is that most of them are limited to clothes, whereas in order to emerge as a global fashion powerhouse, one needs to have a wide range of fashion goods and brands in their portfolio. In this sense, only JJ Valaya’s “House of Valaya” omes close to being called an Indian fashion powerhouse, with four brands in their portfolio offering haute couture, footwear, cuisine, furniture, tapestries, stunning fabrics and home furnishings. Some of the leading names in fashion in India today are JJ Valaya, Ritu Kumar, Ritu Beri, Rohit Bal, Manish Malhotra, Manish Arora, Rina Dhaka, Tarun Tahiliani, Abu Jani and Sandeep Khosla and Wendell Rodricks. A brief account of these names and list of notable clientele is given in Exhibit 3. ? Exhibit 1: Global Fashion Giants: Gucci and Louis Vuitton Case Study: Rise of Gucci
Gucci or House of Gucci has a rich history. Founded way back in 1923 as a family run leather saddler shop, this company’s reputation soared high right from the start because of its high quality products. After 15 years, they established their first retail outlet in Rome outside Florence. From the modest beginnings of a small family owned shop, Gucci has come a long way to become a leading name in fashion today, with over 400 stores around the world in different countries. There are also several high-end department stores that house Gucci in their shelves today. Portfolio:
Premium leather products such as wallets, bags, car upholstery, clothing and also other fashion items like jewelry, watches, eyewear, ties, perfume, etc. Winning strategy: In the early 1990s, Tom Ford, the CEO of Gucci then put a strategy in place that completely turned the company around and propelled it to the global market, making it the notable fashion label it is today. Elements of the employed strategy are briefly mentioned below: Pricing: Positioning themselves in the right segment ?Lowered prices of all items at an average rate of 30%, bringing their products closer to Prada and Louis Vuitton ?
Lowering prices changed Gucci’s image as a more customer oriented company Brand makeover: Coming up with the “right” product mix ?Shifted focus of products from classic to fashion, thereby changing customer’s perception towards a more glamorous edge ? Completely got rid of low-end products and maintained standard portfolio across the globe Marketing: Changing the theme of advertising ?Greatly increased expenditure on advertising and also changed focus from product to brand ? Associated product with several international personalities, thereby gaining attention from the press
Distribution: full-fledged integration ?Forward Integration: Greater control of the distribution process oRemoved distribution channel and setup Directly Operating Stores (DOS) in prime areas oTook over all franchisees in North America ?Backward Integration: Greater control over sourcing oTook over Di Modolo design studio and production facilities ? Acquisitions: More products/brands oBranching out to a multi brand group oAcquired Yves Saint Laurent, Sergio Rossi, YSL Beaute and Boucheron Star Designer Strategy: ?Tom Ford made an iconic symbol for Gucci Case Study: Louis Vuitton
Louis Vuitton is one of the oldest French fashion houses. Established in 1854 by Louis Vuitton as a company making flat-bottom trunks with trianon canvas, LV has come a long way to build the iconic brand of Louis Vuitton that holds a huge share in the world fashion market today. Portfolio: Luggage bags, purses, wallets, jewelry, watches, footwear Winning Strategy: The Louis Vuitton strategy has more or less remained the same over the ages, with even their portfolio remaining quite similar since the days of its inception. Let us now look at the different elements of LV’s strategy that ave helped it become the global fashion powerhouse and international influencer of fashion that it is today. Pricing: Communicating high value through high price ?Pricing products very high ?Never offering any price cuts or discount sales Brand makeover: 29th most valuable brand in the world ?Showcasing at famous exhibitions ?Marketing campaigns with celebrities Product: Quality, Quality and Quality! ?Remarkable focus on even the smallest of details ?High focus on IPR ?No attempts at production of cheap goods ?Use of latest, state-of-the-art technology
Service: ?Lets customers customize their orders ?Delivers to the doorstep Marketing: ?Publicity through word-of-mouth and PR through mass media, never uses television ? Associates brand with famous personalities ?Throws flamboyant parties to attract media attention Distribution: Limited Distribution ?Distribution channels entirely company owned, with products sold only in company owned boutiques or reputed department stores ? Maintains brand image and value through company owned channel ? Company places boutiques in prime locations, also helping in publicity
Star Designer Strategy: Marc Jacobs – Face of Louis Vuitton ? Updated and refreshed the company’s image as a luggage maker to one of the most fashionable ready-to-wear and accessories. ?Recreated a brand targeted to younger customers with trendy and fashion-forward look. Exhibit 2: Learning from Shanghai Tang Background: Shanghai Tang is a leading Chinese lifestyle brand. The company was established by David Tang whose main objective was to revive the Chinese traditional fashion and introduce it to the national market, and later go on to become global.
Shanghai Tang had a great advantage in the form of backing by a leading Swiss luxury fashion conglomerate – Compagnie Financiere Richemont SA. Since this conglomerate had several famous luxury fashion brands in its portfolio, it helped Shanghai Tang a lot in terms of best practices sharing. Problems faced: ?Went straight into the American/European market without gaining a foothold in the Chinese market, which saw their brand facing huge failure abroad ? Did not fare well in foreign community as brand was mostly traditional Chinese merchandize ? No proper standing in European and American markets High price not justified in the Chinese market due to lack of standing in foreign markets New Strategy: Conquer your home before going out ?Main strategy – Capture local market before going global ? Main goal – be the ambassador of the modern Chinese styles ? Main motive – Reintroduce traditional Chinese aesthetics to the new consumer audience Relevance to Indian fashion scenario: ?Presence of a niche market for Indian fashion in global markets, similar to Chinese fashion ? Similar, much localized flavor which must be paid attention to while designing an international fashion brand
Exhibit 3: An account of the Indian fashion houses JJ Valaya Often referred to as the ‘Monarch of Indian Fashion’, Valaya’s house of fashion is possible the only Indian fashion house that comes close to being called a fashion powerhouse. His collection of hand embroideries and exquisite bridal trousseau are a rage in the fashion world globally. His label that was established almost three decades earlier still has strong grip of the market and excels in wedding attires and evening wears, for both men and women. Career and success: JJ Valaya was the first designer to host a solo fashion show in India.
He was also the first Indian designer to showcase his collection along with prominent International Designer Todd Oldham. Hand in hand with brother, TJ Singh’s entrepreneurial abilities, he launched his brand “JJ Valaya” in 1991. His brand consisted of Couture line of attire, which gained great accolades from the fashion fraternity. This was followed by “Valaya Home” in 1996 and a pret label “Studio Valaya” in 1999. In September 2006, House of Valaya entered into a licensing agreement with Genesis Color Private Ltd to design and manufacture its diffusion label “Valaya Quantum”.
Valaya’s novelty and his brother’s entrepreneurial capabilities have made the House of Valaya a pioneer in the Indian fashion Industry. He is a founder member on the Board of Governors of the Fashion Design Council of India (FDCI) and the Official Brand Ambassador for Swarovski, India. Brand and Clientele: House of Valaya is one of India’s most respected fashion houses. It not only caters to fashion lovers, but also provides a whole lot of luxury products, such as furniture, tapestries, stunning fabrics and home furnishings, haute couture and footwear, apart from cuisine.
JJ Valaya has several successful solo fashion shows in his kitty, including the ones in New York, London, Paris, Dubai, Singapore, Hong Kong and Johannesburg as well as in most major Indian cities. He also made an entry into Bollywood, with the film Yaadein. Ritu Kumar An icon of the Indian Fashion industry and a frontrunner in establishing a position for India in the global forum, Ritu Kumar’s contribution has been impeccable to the fashion fraternity, both nationally and internationally. With almost five decades of work for display, the designer excels in both traditional and western outfits, though ethnic attires are her specialty.
She was the first women to bring the boutique culture to India, under the name “Ritu”. Career and success: Starting at a smaller scale, Ritu Kumar has diversified her works of art globally. Though she excels in contemporary and classic style, she has also evolved indo-western fusion to attract the gamut of European buyers. Some of her global achievements include the wardrobes for Miss India, for participation in the International beauty pageants like Miss Universe, Miss World & Miss Asia Pacific, respectively. Brand and Clientele: The brand “Ritu” has acquired great accolades internationally.
The designer has not only restrained her work to the fashion industry, but has also dived into the other sectors that offer luxury to the people. The brand also launched a fragrance by the name “the tree of life”. In April 2002, Ritu Kumar launched her new sub brand, ‘LABEL’. She has twelve outlets in India, which offer a range of products from the conventional to the contemporary. Ritu Beri Ritu Beri is one of the top Indian fashion designers who have been continuously serving Indian fashion industry with her feminine and funky designer apparels.
Career and success: Fashion designer Ritu Beri has made a consistent progress in her life. She started off by designing clothes for friends and relatives. Later on in 1990 she made her first move towards establishing her own fashion studio ‘Lavanya’ from where she designed her maiden collection, a couple of which were instantly sold. Influenced by India’s rich cultural heritage she has come up with the most splendid designs. She has also been given the challenge of designing for Indian counterpart in the curtain Raiser ceremony of Olympics at Atlanta.
Apart from being a fabulous and top fashion designer she is a very good human being. She has got the heart of gold. She is highly compassionate for animals for which she has also started a project called ‘Caring means sharing’. The funds raised through this collection would go for animal care. This collection would exhibit a wide array of products. This charming woman has the fire to make a difference in the fashion world. Brand and Clientele: She started participating in International Fashion shows under the brand name of Ritu Beri since 1998.
Her notable international clients are former US President Bill Clinton, Prince Charles, Moulin Rouge, Nicole Kidman, Hollywood actress Andy McDowell, Supermodel Laetitia Casta, famous Parisian Socialite Mrs. Lagerdere, Langes Swarovski & The Swarovski family, Elizabeth Jagger and Jerry Hall. Her notable Indian clients are Madhuri Dixit, Rani Mukherji, Preity Zinta, Parmeshwar Godrej & Shobha De. Manish Malhotra Fashion designer Manish Malhotra, a passionate fashion savvy has made his special position in the Indian film Industry. He has beautified the Indian film star celebrities with his impeccable designer outfits.
Indian designer Manish Malhotra entered into the Bollywood parlance by designing wardrobe for Juhi Chawla. In the list of top young celebrity fashion designers, he is the most shining star who has been successful in earning both name and fame. Career and success: Manish Malhotra is truly a master of fashion and has achieved a tremendous appreciation. His work has been honored with various awards like Filmfare Award, Showtime Opinion Poll Award, Siemens’ Viewer’s Choice Award, Bollywood Award and the Lux-Zee Cine Award. He is continuously delivering quality work for fashion boutique ‘Reverie’ with which he is associated since 1998.
This budding star of yesterday has truly become the pride of Bollywood. Brand and Clientele: Manish has designed costumes for almost all top actresses from sensuous Sridevi, Urmila Matondkar, Shilpa Shetty, and Manisha Koirala to elegant and graceful Aishwarya Rai, Rani Mukherjee and Preity Zinta. Manish has made an incredible contribution to various Blockbuster light comedy films like Rangeela to romantic movies like Dil To Pagal Hai, Kaho Na Pyar Hai and Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge. The highlights of Manish’s career also include designs for Michael Jackson and British super model Naomi Campbell.
The high-profile couture store ‘Reverie – Manish Malhotra’ launched by him in 1998 was set up in association with industrialists Yash and Avati Birla which further received a tremendous response and the cream of Mumbai high society and rich non-resident Indians become his clients. Tarun Tahiliani Tarun Tahiliani is a Bollywood celebrity costume designer who is extremely inspired by ethnic styles. Tarun Tahiliani started off as a fashion retailer by establishing his own fashion boutique in Mumbai and later went on to start his own brand label called ‘Ahilian’.
Career and success: Tarun Tahiliani is a Bollywood celebrity costume designer who has always been in the limelight. Extremely inspired by ethnic styles, fashion designer Tarun Tahiliani is of the opinion that Sari is the most elegant dress that has a great dazzling effect. He thinks it is the most apt apparel for sensuous look and brings out the beauty of India women in the most attractive manner. He experiments with colors and fabrics and comes up with his own unique classy designs. According to him Sari has the capability of arousing sensation.
He is simply fascinated by Chikan embroidery of Lucknow and is often incorporated in his designs. He also makes use of beads and semi precious stones to embellish the ensemble. He strongly believes that fashion is all about your comfort level with a particular attire. Brand and Clientele: He has designed apparels for the Indian celebrities like Simi Garewal, Katrina Kaif, Deepika Padukone, Minisha Lamba, and Shilpa Shetty. The highlights of his designs are: block printing, bandhini styles, beautiful color combination and rich silhouettes.
His bridal collection for both men and women is highly sought after by the rich Indian and the NRI clients. He also designs bags and also does event and interior designing for marriages Rohit Bal Style is the mantra for Rohit Bal, the fashion designer from the enduring valley of Kashmir. The “Bad Boy” of the fashion world, as Rohit Bal is popularly called, is known for his sophisticated cuts and breathing fabrics. He weaves in the best for both men and women. His creations are a reflection of his own personality- not restrained by any norms. Rohit Bal’s creative mind gives a true bent of spirit in his work as well.
Being christened by the Times magazine as the “Master of Fabric and Fantasy”, he purely live up to the expectations of being among the bandwagon of the Indian fashion industry leaders. Subtle in his choice of colors, Rohit prefers to use pastels and earthy tones to dress up his men and women. However, there is no one-signature style that the designer sticks to. Career and success: It was Rohit Bal’s first collection which brought success to this talented designer and since then, there has been no looking back. He has made a name globally. Rohit Bal has designed outfits using almost all fabrics.
Even Khadi (Indian handloom textile) has been used by the immensely talented designer, to create exclusivity for the raw product and a demand in the market. Rohit has held shows in New York, London, Dubai, Singapore and Paris, including Paris Fashion Week. Rohit Bal was also chosen by the Khadi Gram Udyog, the largest handloom textile operation in India, to work with them. Rohit bagged the ‘Designer of the Year’ award at the Indian Fashion Awards in 2006. He was also made ‘Designer of the Year’ at the Kingfisher Fashion Achievement Awards in 2001. His line of designer clothes has been sold at even 15000 USD.
His style is innovative and inventive and he does not shy away from having popular legends, history, fantasy or folklore on the outfits. Brand and Clientele: The brand “Rohit Bal” created by the designer has been doing wonders in the fashion scenario. He has opened up a flagship store in Delhi and positioning stores at other places like Mumbai, Bangalore, Ahmedabad, Kolkata and Chennai as well. He also plans to open up stores in Middle East and Europe. After making a name for himself in the fashion fraternity, Rohit has also ventured into the designing jewellery for Kirtilals.
He also plans to design and launch men’s fashion accessories like cufflinks. The clientele list of this ace designer is a long one, some being celebrities like Uma Thurman, Cindy Crawford, Pamela Anderson, Naomi Campbell and Anna Kournikova. Most of his fashion shows in India, New York, Paris and Singapore are sponsored by The Swatch Group and he is also the brand ambassador for their Omega Watches, since 2001. Abu Jani and Sandeep Khosla Contemporary styles and the revival of bygone works of art molded neatly into modern fashion brocade! This is what Abu Jani and Sandeep Khosla are all about.
The duo has made it to the fashion circuit with their sheer talent and inventive potentials of a designer. “The boys”, as the duo are famously known, have made ethnic apparels with a fresh flavor of trends that comes on year after year. To bring in a resurgence of traditional works of art, the duo has traveled to the remotest area, grasped the art and beautifully executed it in their finest of collections. Abu Jani and Sandeep Khosla are among the few people who have made it big globally. The duo was the first to bring out its collection at Harrods. Career and success:
Abu Jani and Sandeep Khosla started with a humble beginning and launched their creative line ‘Mata Hari’. Soon, the magic of traditional and modern art captivated the interest of all and they launched themselves into the international forum. Their launch into the global forum was with a range of shawls, under the brand name of ‘Shakira Caine’ mark at Harvey Nichols, Neiman Marcus and Harrods in London, along with Bergdof Goodman in New York and Knightsbridge in UK. Abu Jani and Sandeep Khosla’s designer label “Jashan”, launched in 1989, was previewed at the ‘Save the Children’ Charity fundraising ball in London.
In December 2003, they won the national award for designing some of the fabulous attires for the movie Devdas, which they had designed for Madhuri Dixit, Shahrukh Khan and Jackie Shroff. Brand and Clientele: Their clientele list includes the who’s who of the film fraternity, of both Bollywood and Hollywood. Besides British Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s wife, the designer duo also has dressed celebrities like Dame Judi Dench, Dame Maggie Smith, Darcey Bussell, and Sophie Marceau, as its international clients.
Apart from creating apparels, Abu Jani and Sandeep Khosla have also ventured into the platform of interior designing, making a mark in this aspect as well. They have designed homes of celebrities like Amitabh Bachchan and Jaya Bachchan, Dimple Kapadia and Nikhil and Shewta Nanda. The duo has its retail flagship stores at Mumbai, Bangalore and Delhi. The beautiful and stunning designs of Abu Jani and Sandeep Khosla bring in a feel of traditionalism, within the realms of modernity. Wendell Roderick
Wendell Roderick is among the few designers who are obsessed with Indian fashion with his art designs drawing inspiration from ancient India. One can be sure that his clothes would have no heavy embroideries and no stiff clothes. They would be easy to carry, yet give that elegant look that one aspires to have. Wendell Roderick’s clothes could be worn at society at large. His aim, to create a place for Goa in the world map of fashion, has been triumphant only because of his sheer hard work and successful fashion shows.
Career and success: It was in 1990 that the designer launched his own label ‘Wendell Roderick’. Three years later after launching his own label, Wendell Roderick shifted base to Goa, creating splendid collections every time, mostly inspired by Tibetan Monasteries, Tribal symbols of Shiva and Vishnu, the Harem at Istanbul, Tattoos of the Lambadi tribe and Clothing the Soul. Wendell Roderick was the first Indian who had got an opportunity to display his collection at the world’s largest garment fair at IGEDO, Dusseldorf.
Apart from designing, he is also concerned with other sectors of the industry, like addressing on World Costume History, lettering for the country’s leading women’s magazine, Chairman of the courses committee at the Board of Technical Education, appointed by the Government of Goa, and member Advisory Board of Fashion Institutes and Lakme Fashion Week. He is also a Patron of the Kasturba Gandhi Memorial Trust, Goa that promotes handspun Khadi. Wendell retails at country’s best stores, including the celebrated Wendell Rodricks Design Space in Panjim. Brand and Clientele:
Wendell Roderick has done a lot of work state of Goa. He has designed uniforms for the Goa State Traffic Police, the Four Seasons, the Goa Marriott Resort, the Vasco Sports Club football team and the staff of the Goa Tourism Development Corporation. Internationally, he was involved with designing advertisements for Wellspun, Delsey, SWATCH Bijoux, Breguet and Raymond Weil. He has earned a lot of recognition in the fashion circuit and has amused people with the simplicity projected in his designs. ELLE’s Nirja Shah, models like Achla Sachdev and Nina Manuel keep raving at his designs.
The designer has also worked with renowned Kathak dancer Daksha Sheth. Right now, he plans to launch a book on Goa’s clothing tradition. Rina Dhaka he ‘Goddess of Oomph’ of Indian fashion, designer Rina Dhaka styles clothes with a lot of fun. Being in the industry for quite some time, Rina feels that globalization has opened up avenues for young and dynamic women and with it, the options of women designers as well. To be in sync with demand for comfortable, yet stylish outfits for offices, designers are trying out all possibilities of being creative. Rina Dhaka emphasizes silhouette and is willing to take risks.
In one collection, she mixed fur and boots with her Indian outfits, to create a unique look. Every time, Dhaka tries to give four to five looks to in her collection. Career and success: It was very early in her career when Rina got accolades for one of her design for the Miss India event from Rohit Khosla, the only ingenious designer of that time. The encouragement acted as a booster for Rina, who was all the more excited to bring out the best in her. Her first show in Singapore “The Best of Indian Haute Couture” met with a thumping success. Rina has also won a Yuva Rattan award in career, which is spread over almost three decades now.
She is best known for her theme collections – sheer trousers, crochet, stretch jersey, woolens and spider web motifs. Western wear still remains an area of dominance, though she also designs ethnic and conventional attires. She prides on the fact that her pieces can be worn as separates. Attaining a lot of success nationally, Dhaka has also achieved accredits internationally. Her works were featured in magazines, such as Vogue and Elle. Brand and Clientele: Rina Dhaka has her collections, under the label ‘Rina Dhaka’, in stores like Carma-Delhi, Design Studio-Mumbai, Kimaya-Mumbai, Selfridges-London, Coin-Italy and Lord and Taylor-New York.
She has also opened a studio in Hauz Khaz village for Lycra in Delhi. The clientele list of this bold designer includes eminent personalities such as Naomi Campbell, Uma Thruman, Susan Fales Hill, Molly Simns, Tara Palmen Tomkison, Lara Dutta, and Diana Hayden. Her work has been featured in publications such as Marie Claire Paris, Madame Figaro Paris, Vogue London, New York Post, Vanity Fair, etc. Manish Arora Manish Arora is an Indian fashion designer based in New Delhi. In early 2011, he was appointed as creative director of the womenswear collection of the French fashion house Paco Rabanne.
Born and brought up in Bombay (now Mumbai), Manish was studying to graduate in Commerce, when he decided to change his career path and applied for the National Institute of Fashion Technology in New Delhi. He graduated in 1994 after winning the Best Student Award. Career and success: In 1997 Manish Arora launched his own label “Manish Arora” and started retailing in India. Three years later, Manish participated in the first-ever India Fashion Week held in New Delhi and represented India at the Hong Kong Fashion Week. Arora launched his second label, “Fish Fry”, in 2001.
This colorful, sportswear-styled line was created in association with the athletic apparel manufacturer Reebok. During 2002 Manish opened his first flagship store, Manish Arora Fish Fry, in New Delhi and in the following year opened a second store in Mumbai. Another successful showing at India Fashion Week (2003) led to a stocking deal with the fashion house Maria Luisa (Paris) and the beginning of a successful export business. He had a successful debut at the London Fashion Week in September 2005 and received an overwhelming response from the press as well as the buyers.
Manish opened his first Manish Arora franchise store in Villa Moda, Kuwait and another Manish Arora Fish Fry store at Crescent, New Delhi in 2006. In 2007 the first Fish Fry for Reebok concept store opened at the Garden of Five Senses, New Delhi, and Arora teamed up with make-up and cosmetics giant MAC for designing a signature collection. He has also collaborated with Swatch for a limited edition of watches. In 2008, once again, Reebok launched the ‘RBK Fish Fry Collection 2008’, an exclusive lifestyle range designed by Manish Arora. Indian by Manish Arora”, a brand designed for the growing Indian market for women’s wear, is licensed to another fashion company. Manish was invited to show his collection at the “Fashion in Motion” exhibition held at Victoria and Albert Museum, London in September 2007. By 2009 Manish owned four stores in India and sold his collections to more than 80 retailers worldwide. Brand and Clientele: The three famous brands of Manish Arora are – Manish Arora, Fish Fry and Paco Rabanne. In terms of clientele, Manish Arora is mostly associated with pop divas like Katy Perry, Rihanna and Lady Gaga and other international A list celeb clients

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