Fashion brands are making a beeline for India. But winning over customers in Asia’s third-largest economy requires a more tactful strategy than simply showing up. Brands that don’t succeed in India typically don’t match the aesthetic preferences of most Indian shoppers. The fashion houses that thrive in India tailor their collections to local customers, respond to the complexities in Indian wardrobes and cater to different needs throughout the country’s diverse markets. To resonate with Indian shoppers, international brands have to design collections with their style in mind. This often translates into pieces unique to the market and partnerships with homegrown designers to get a local perspective. Italian men’s wear brand Canali introduced a collection in its six Indian stores that included a bandhgala, a closed collar suit common in Indian men’s wardrobes. In 2011, Hermès released a limited-edition sari in India. More recently, Giorgio Armani launched an exclusive Indian capsule collection of achkan jackets.
Uniqlo, which opened its first store in India, in New Delhi, this October, is selling a special collection based on the kurta. In 2016, Christian Louboutin launched a collection of shoes and accessories with Indian fashion designer Sabyasachi. The partnership mixes classic Louboutin styles like the Loubi Queen sandal and the Mary Jane bucket bag with local twists, including hand embroidery and festive colors.