New Delhi: Wills Lifestyle, the brand that backs the Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week (WIFW), has completed 10 years and to mark the occasion, it has collaborated with Sabyasachi Mukherjee to make designer wear accessible.
Atul Chand, Divisional Chief Executive, ITC`s Lifestyle Retailing Business Division, says Sabyasachi will make an exclusive collection that will be retailed from their stores.
"Our aim is to broad-base fashion and make designer wear accessible. Sabyasachi will be creating an exclusive collection that will be retailed from Wills Lifestyle stores across the country," said Chand.
Designers like Tarun Tahiliani, JJ Valaya, Nandita Basu, Suneet Verma, Satya Paul, Ranna Gill, Rohit Bal, Rohit Gandhi, Rahul Khanna and Rajesh Pratap Singh are already working closely with the brand.
"This is a part of the wider commitment that we have to the fashion industry. First is, of course, sponsorship but beyond that you also want to make sure the capacity and capability of the fashion industry gets stronger.
"We retail designer collections at our stores because the designers have the creativity and we have the understanding of consumers, along with our retail network. The designer`s creativity, our commercial acumen, and corporate backing work together to co-create a collection and by doing this, fashion will reach the wider masses."
How will the initiative help in promoting fashion?
"Designer wear in the past had a very restrictive and small clientele. Also, acceptability was a problem. But by doing this, we will create glamorous outfits which will not only be wearable but will also be affordable because it is the prêt fashion we are talking about," Chand said.
The garments will be available in stores in 40 cities priced between Rs.5,000 and Rs.15,000.
"We have about 10-odd designers and their products account for about 15 percent of our sales," Chand said.
Wills Lifestyle, which began collaborating with the fashion week in 2006, has came a long way.
"We have come up with `The Debut`, a competition held across the fashion institutes. We sponsor the winner`s overseas trip to participate in fashion fairs. We also give employment to winner in ITC," he said.
The fifth edition of The Debut received an overwhelming response with more than 300 entries from all over India, including students from National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT), National Institute of Design (NID) and Pearl Academy of Fashion, participating in huge numbers.
Is there any brand expansion in the pipeline?
"We are already in the metro cities and now we are looking forward for the second and third tier cities like Coimbatore, Vishakhapatnam, Amritsar, Jaladhar and Nashik. Retails malls are opening in these cities so all the factors are there to start up our new ventures there," Chand said.
"We have also opened boutique stores in ITC Maurya, New Delhi, ITC Mughal, Agra, and Royal Gardenia, Bangalore. We are going to open two more in Kolkata and Chennai. The idea is to get more of a boutique kind of feeling by targeting the high-end premium consumers," he added.