When I look back at the beginning of my career in retail, I am stunned by the incredible transformation India as a consumer market has undergone in the past two decades. And for much of that period — 17 years to be precise — India Fashion Forum (IFF) has chronicled — and even catalysed — ahead-of-the-curve innovations in consumer experiences and fashion consumption, which many of us have been witness to.
For us Indians, the primary fashion influencer at one time was cinema. It was all quite simple, really; we were prone to investing over expenditure, and our demands were limited and manageable. Cut to 2016, and we’re the world’s fastest growing major market, and populated by demanding, aspirational, globally-connected, and living-for-the-‘now’ consumers. And for fashion marketers and retailers, as if that were not enough, there is now the added complexity of digital consumption.
I actually think that all the ongoing disruption, in reality, represents opportunity. India’s appetite for fashion — and all lifestyle accoutrements — is rising at the fastest pace in her modern history. What else can explain the escalating interest — and entry — of global fashion retailers into India, as well as the rapid growth of omnichannel models?
But, have our domestic businesses optimised the prospects? Look at the kidswear category — massive opportunities, but lack of scalable models and pricing mismatches have stumped Indian brands. There is little doubt that we are at a crossroads — Indian fashion brands will have to constantly reinvent themselves to evolve with the increasingly competitive retail landscape.
As Chairperson of India Fashion Forum 2017, I invite you to join us, to what will truly be a mega intelligence event on the supply side of fashion retail economics. It will be both a privilege and opportunity for me to host the most exciting and potentially game-changing ideas, innovations, professionals and business leaders from India and the world to create the next epoch of fashion retailing, which I believe will be powered by Consumer Experience.
As retailers, we all know the fundamental tenet: Customer is King. This has never been truer than it is today. We are on the supply side of the enormous opening that modern India today presents. It’s time to make it count, starting with your ideas at IFF 2017.
Chairman, India Fashion Forum 2017
Managing Director & CEO, Arvind Lifestyle Brands Limited