Mumbai: If you are a fashionista or want to be one and can`t afford the design your favourite model is wearing, fret no more - prêt is here. Designers are increasingly cutting down the prices of their collections to accommodate the needs of the not so rich and are also managing to make profits."I do two lines - one is expensive Indian wear because I have to do that as well, but 80 percent of what I make is prêt. I enjoy making those garments because I would rather have many people wearing what I make than just 10 people," Delhi-based designer Pallavi Mohan told reporters.
Her brand Not So Serious is retailed at many stores in Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai and the price starts at Rs.3,000, far lower than the usual designer tag that can even run into lakhs.
Pallavi says the trend might have just started in India, but international designers like Roberto Cavalli are already doing it.
"It is high time that we did this because internationally even Cavalli is doing so - he is making Roberto Cavalli, Cavalli and Jeanwear. So they have three lines. Everyone does that. Everyone makes an affordable line too. So we had to do it at some time."
Haute couture is a designer`s first priority, but more and more designers are emphasising on affordable prêt lines because of commercial viability.
Ace designer Priyadarshini Rao has gone a step further and launched a new label Mineral, offering clothes at prices between Rs.895 and Rs.1,895.
"I have attempted to put together a line or rather a brand that is stylish yet affordable. I`ve been doing prêt for many years but the kind of prêt I`ve usually done is luxury prêt. With Mineral we are reaching out to the masses," said the Mumbai-based designer.
Priyadarshini`s collection, showcased at the just concluded Lakme Fashion Week (LFW), included a range of blouses, linen lounge pants, over shirts dresses, shorts and shirts and they were in shades of white, indigo, oyster pink, beige, charcoal, lime and turquoise.
There was a time when designers were happy with their elite clientele, but now they want to reach out to the masses because catering to just the niche market does not help them earn the kind of money they need to survive.
Mumbai-based designer Debarun says fashion is not just about style but also business.
"The whole point is that everyone wants to do business and that I think is slowly getting into the minds of the designers. Our generation of designers are realising that to survive we have to cater to the masses," Debarun told reporters.
"I can`t survive by selling only designer clothes. I can be very blunt about it. If I have to survive and earn money for my bread and butter, I have to look for alternatives. Overhead costs, running costs and investments are huge and so you can`t survive by selling just one ghaghra a month."
"I have kept the whole silhouette Indian, it`s very saleable. Business-wise it makes sense to make this kind of collection. I have two spectrums of the collection - one is a commercial range and the other which I showcased at the ramp (at LFW). So the commercial range varies from about Rs.5,500 to Rs.7,000 and the ramp one starts around Rs.9,000 and goes up to Rs.16,000," he said.
Upcoming designer Manas Dash, who is based in Bhubaneswar, said: "It`s fantastic that people are changing the trend. In a country like India, how many people can buy couture on a regular basis. So selling and making more pret is a good idea."
"People are also warming up to the idea of designer wear because today they earn more and are willing to spend a little more," he added.
The prices they are a changing... and this might be just the time to make a style statement.