With brands like Flying Machine, Energie, US Polo Assn under its belt, Arvind Lifestyles Brands is in a sweet spot and is eyeing a bigger share in the market. It wants to do increase its presence by expanding the product portfolio and retail network. Recently, all its brands unveiled their A/W collection for 2011. Talking about the product portfolio, Gautam Kotamraju, Product and Design Head-Denim, Arvind Lifestyles Brands says, “We do denim, textile and puff nylon jackets because it’s a growing market for us. We are doing some accessories and have a big thrust on shoes that go with casual wear. We are also looking at adding watches through the licensing route.”
Kotamraju points out they are slowly moving towards a situation where the right fashion is presented in the right atmosphere and at the right price . “What is selling in Milan should be offered here at the right time,” he explains. For A/W 2011, the Flying Machine collection is based on flying as a theme. It consists of vintage-looking apparel. One of the lines is inspired by the Brooklyn area of New York. The shirts, T-shirts and jeans speak of Brooklyn’s music and art. Energie’s range for the season is called Style Clash, a collection of styles from all over but melded interestingly. Coast to Coast is Disney inspired cartoon clothing. US Polo autumn/winter line revolves around Americana in the truest form.
The Flying Machine brand is the oldest homegrown denim brand for Arvind. In 2007, it was revived and re-launched in a different avatar with a new logo, placement and philosophy. Since then it has witnessed tremendous growth. Now the company wants to take it to the top three level. “We want to be among the top five brands. It has grown in sales and has been accepted well by dealers, distributors and consumers,” Kotamraju says.
Energie was launched in India during A/W 2010. It’s a Rs 27 crores business for Arvind. The brand is for people who have been wearing jeans but need something more innovative, premium. “For the Indian market, we have taken India-specific route of pricing. We are able to do that because we have the bandwidth and the skill set required to achieve the target. We offer our jeans at Rs 2,499 and go up to Rs 7,999. We are planning to bring in some more price points which will be slightly lower, but the thrust of the brand will remain in terms of pricing between Rs 2,999 and Rs 3,999. This is just above the entry level premium segment.” opines Kotamraju. As of now there are three Energie EBOs in Mumbai, Delhi and Jaipur. The brand is also available in all large formats and 27 MBOs.
Arvind launched US Polo in 2008. It’s a premium knits-led brand having polo sports as its core theme. “We started off with a small range of shirts, T-shirts and jeans. We have now decided to move US Polo jeanswear to a jeans floor in large format stores. This will enable us to be present on the same platform as other premium denim manufacturers,” he says.
The overall denim portfolio at Arvind now has about 60 options. US Polo has men’s, women’s and children’s denim. Last season the company launched shoes in US Polo and now it may also add suitcases, trolleys and laptop bags to the collection. It’s present in 40 EBOs and shop-in-shop formats and through MBOs. “Our brands are present in all the large format stores (Shoppers Stop, Lifestyle, Globus, Westside, Central, Reliance and regional MBO/LFS powerhouses). We are already present in the Middle East, Singapore, South Africa and are exploring EU now.” The brand is moving strongly in the women’s denim category. They are communicating to the world that they make some of the best women's jeans with special emphasis on fit. “We have also launched casual men's shoes which are doing well. We are looking at introducing newer accessories,” says Kotamraju.
Tapping the non-metro market, the company has spread its wings through MBOs in a cautious way. As Kotamraju says, “You need the right product at the right price. I may hesitate to set up an EBO in non-metros and as of now it’s better to work with partners who have already made inroads into these markets. So we have an MBO thrust, lower price points, and more fashionable products to suit the aspirations of a person who gets his fashion from Bollywood. While a metro consumer is slightly more evolved, the small town guy doesn’t mind wearing rip-offs and imports.”