Fashion designers foray into lifestyle products

September 10th, 2008 - 8:58 am ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Sep 10 (IANS) Seeking to cash in on a fast expanding fashion market, Indian designers are foraying into home linen, perfumes, bags and shoe lines after making a mark with their clothing lines.”The main reason why almost all designers are diversifying their business is because they want to get into lifestyle business,” Fashion Design Council of India (FDCI) president Sunil Sethi told IANS.

While designer Manav Gangwani is planning to introduce his eyewear collection in the Indian market, bridal wear design diva Ritu Kumar is launching her own perfume line called The Tree of Life.

“This is good for their business. Once their basic brand sells, it is a natural progression for a designer to diversify. Once he or she is well established, he can experiment,” Sethi said.

Although the designers primarily look to expand their business with lifestyle products, they say it also satisfies their creative instincts.

Mumbai-based designer Rocky S, known for his Bollywood liaisons, has already dabbled in various markets apart from his clothing line.

“My bags are selling in 70 stores in the country and are doing very well. Considering that fashion has been translated from just clothes to bags, home line (home furnishings) and perfume, they are doing pretty well,” Rocky said.

“It’s a very good trend for other designers to follow. I have a home line, kids wear, evening wear line, club line, couture, perfume, bags … I like to do different things all the time,” Rocky told IANS.

He explained that it “eventually works very well and it has also worked very well with designers abroad”.

Rocky forecasts that Indian designers will also adopt the trend of diversifying into varied creative fields soon because “once a designer has a brand name, as a creative person, he or she can do anything and everything”.

Rahul of designer duo Rahul and Gunjan said: “Designing is not just about clothing. A designer has to grow as a creative artist and should definitely not restrict himself or his creativity to grow as an individual.”

Young designer Amit GT, who started with his focus towards menswear, chose to branch out into designing for women and now also dabbles in home furnishings and accessory designing.

He said: “Every designer has a vision and it is for this that they are foraying into lifestyle luxury products. Lifestyle is a broad category and designers can create wonders with their creativity in various lifestyle sections.”

As for the profits that he is able to garner with his line-up of products, GT explained that it is a profitable and lucrative venture despite the existing cutthroat competition in the market.

But, as he said, “everything depends on how many lines a designer has”.

On the flip side, FDCI’s Sethi says that though “diversifying” maybe beneficial for the personal interest of a designer, it does not boost the Indian fashion industry in a major way.

“These diversifications aren’t much of a help to the fashion industry. They help a designer personally and help in promoting his or her brand,” he said.

“Worldwide, all designers have different categories under their label as this greatly helps the branding of the product. At the end of the day, this is all that matters for a designer,” Sethi added.

He also explained that the idea of branching out helps a designer to reach out to the common man rather than serving the interests of only those with deep pockets.

He said: “The best part about these lifestyle collections is that they are more accessible to a common man. A person who cannot afford a Rohit Bal lehenga will surely opt for his eyewear range as it is more affordable.

Though a lot of designers are introducing their personal lines, they are also tying up with lifestyle brands to jointly introduce a special range.

Sabyasachi Mukherjee had earlier tied up with home linen brand Bombay Dyeing for a bedsheet collection; Manish Arora tied up with sports brand Reebok for their lifestyle shoe collection that was called Fish Fry.

Couture king JJ Valaya will very soon launch his home collection besides having tied up with floral concepts retail outlet Ferns N Petals for a flowers range Fleur.

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