Tantra: India on a T-shirt

Tuesday, 14 September 2010
altTantra, the brand best-known for its range of funky tees popular among the uber cool young crowd has now come up with a new range of ‘Rupee Shirt’, bearing the new symbol approved by the government. Showcasing the symbol in black and white, with the tagline ‘black money white money,’ the new range of T-shirt is generating quite a buzz among Tantra loyalists.  Available in black and white, the T-shirts are being sold online and happen to be Tantra’s first made-to-order product.  “Although Tantra is centered in India, it caters to the global youth. Our target audience is the cutting-edge cool early adopter, from Mumbai to Miami, Delhi to Denmark and Ludhiana to London. Because the brand language and attitude is global, it appeals to a wide demography. In fact, Tantra’s celebrity customer list includes: Bill Clinton, Sir Paul Mc Cartney, Sting and Deepak Chopra,” says Ranjiv Ramchandani, Director, Tantra.

alt Incepted in 1997, the idea behind the cult brand Tantra was to represent and convey the essence of India to foreigners visiting the country. “India on a T-shirt was the initial concept. We had to sell the idea of India, a 5,000-year-old culture, encapsulate it on a T-shirt and give it a funny spin,” says Ramchandani. Since they put India on a T-shirt they had to give an appropriate Indian name as well. After playing around with several names they came up with Tantra “It had that right mix of legal and illegal things that would appeal to the youth,” he explains. They also started a few other brands under their brand umbrella and ‘Barking Dog T-shirt’ was one of them. With Tantra they do the whole range of tees from full sleeve T-shirts to polos, plains, winter merchandise, women’s wear, kids’ wear et al.

The popularity of the brand can be gauged from the fact that there’s a book written about the Tantra story called Connect the Dots by Rashmi Bansal. Available at all major bookshops like Landmark and Crossword, it’s the story of 20 entrepreneurs in India.

The brand is ready with its new range for the autumn/winter. Also, they are shortly launching a club wear range, which is a higher value product. It has a different fabric; the designs are different in terms of the handwork done on the T-shirt besides prints it also has bead work. “The Tantra club wear will be a range different from the autumn/winter collection and be priced at least 30 per cent higher than our normal range. It will be Rs 600 and above and will be for both men and women,” informs Ramchandani.

At the moment the brand sells through 25 to 30 EBOs. “We are opening a 500 sq. ft. store in Janpath, New Delhi this month. We are present in three or four malls in Delhi and have just opened in Chennai and Kanpur, are opening one in Pink City Mall, Jaipur. We are aiming for about 100 stores by 2012-13,” he says. The brand is also present in about 400 to 500 MBOs. In Mumbai alone they are in 50 to 60 stores and hope to add 50 more MBOs by March 2011. The brand
also exports to countries like the US, France, UK.