Women’s ethnic wear market is growing consistently with the infusion of a variety of new silhouettes and styles that enhance the fashion quotient while being comfortable. Trendy fusion wear, which has successfully managed to integrate western trends into traditional ethnic designs, has helped to expand the reach of ethnic wear. Earlier, ethnic wear was restricted to a function/festival or a celebration for a modern woman but now women incorporate ethnic garments into their daily fashion portfolio. From an intricate stole thrown around her neck to short Chanderi tunic with skinny jeans, the modern Indian woman wears a little bit of India daily.
In line with this, Soch is the destination store for ethnic wear for fashion conscious women. It provides unbelievable value for money under a single roof. Soch recently launched its Week Wear collection, which is everyday fashion for all occasions. The range offers kurti suits with jackets, tunics with embroideries and pin tucks, as well as work appropriate kurtis, which can be paired with fashionable bottoms to carry the look from daywear to evening wear. Speaking about the new launch Vinay Chatlani, CEO & Director, Soch, elaborates, “We are continuing to innovate with new fabrics which are a blend of cotton and polyester, allowing breathability while being easy to maintain. Our fits are relaxed and have functional elements like pockets keeping in mind the requirements of the customers.”
Style statement for upcoming season
Chatlani says they are seeing a shift in the way consumers interact with ethnic wear. Earlier ethnic wear was worn only for festivals or marriages and today it is versatile enough for every occasion – from office to formal functions and casual outings. For the coming season, Soch will be focussing on statement colours like yellows, maroon, earthy green and vibrant fuchsias. The styles will be a blend of traditional embellishments like zari, zardoi, kundan and stone work and trendy, contemporary modern silhouettes.
“More women today are joining the workforce. They want to look professional and contemporary at the same time. Therefore, it is important that our clothes are not only fashionable and office appropriate but also functional and easy to care for. Women are discerning consumers; making it imperative that we are attuned to their evolving requirements and make sure the same is reflected in our stores,” Chatlani says.
The brand’s existing retail network comprises of 115 EBOs, 15 MBOs and close to 60 LFS. It plans to double this number in the next three years. Fairly a new entrant in MBOs and LFSs, they see larger growth in touch points in these segments. Chatlani adds, “East and North India are big, lucrative and exciting markets that we have just started exploring. We need to aggressively expand our foothold in these two markets while continuing to grow in the rest of India. In the next couple of years, Soch would double touch points compared to what we have today.”
Turnover & growth plans
The company ended the year at Rs 378 crores and expects to grow 25-30 per cent this year. It is focussing more on process and back end efficiencies for a larger growth spurt. “We have been forced to increase prices in some cases but being a growing brand, in many cases, economies of scale have kicked in allowing us to reduce costs and hold pricing. With greater backward integration into the supply chain and further store expansion, the benefits of economies of scale should increase. We plan to reduce prices in some sub-categories where we feel consumers are price sensitive,” Chatlani explains.
Soch is confident there will be a good demand for ethnic wear in coming season. Due to its convenience and comfort, readymade saris will do well. Layered kurtas with pants are going to make a statement. Dupattas especially Banarsi ones will continue to add grace. Floral embroideries and stone work will be big on kurtis and saris. Sleeve detailing trend will continue be it cold shoulder, bell, ruffled sleeves or off-shoulders. Shararas will takeover from palazos. “With the wedding season around the corner followed by festivals, we look forward to busy months of delighting customers,” he concludes.