Italian luxury menswear retailer,Ermenegildo Zegna, is planning to sell fabric to Indian tailors to make suits in addition to the off-the-shelf and custom-made shirts and suits it currently sells to expand its offerings here.
The tailors will not be allowed to use the brand name Zegna for the finished products.
Zegna is known for bespoke suits and these have been among the highest selling at its only Indian store—at a South Mumbai hotel. But the company is now exploring the idea of bringing a small division that sells fabric from its textile mill to local tailors.
“India has a great tradition of good tailoring and our fabrics would complement it well,” Anna Zegna, the group’s image director and store planning director said during a visit to Mumbai in October.
While Zegna focuses on its retail stores, it has a small division that operates in several countries that sells fabric to tailors. The company has a stringent process to choose tailors who will get Zegna fabric. This includes the quality of their tailoring, their clientele and the space they can provide.
Zegna was the first luxury retailer to own majority stake in its Indian operations after the country passed in 2005, a law allowing global single brand retailers to own a majority stake in their local operations. Apart from its flagship store in Mumbai, Zegna is setting up stores in New Delhi and Bangalore. It will also look to open stores in tier-II towns.
“Currently our focus is on establishing the Zegna retail operations,” Shantanu Mukherjee, Zegna’s India managing director said. “India will be an important market for our fabric business but maybe at a later stage.”
Zegna could also start selling the traditional bandgala (jackets with a closed neck) jacket at its Indian stores as soon as Spring 2008. Bandgalas are among the most popular requests in the Indian made-to-order business, Mukherjee said.
Consulting firm Technopak estimates the size of India’s luxury market at Rs2,400 crore and expects this to grow by 30-35% a year. Luxury retailers are increasingly looking at localizing their offerings to cater to this increasingly important market.
French luxury retail group, Louis Vuitton Moet Henessey will set up its first non-European factory to make shoe soles in Pondicherry. And Brand Marketing India, which is the Indian partner for international luxury retailers such as La Perla, Gucci and Jimmy Choo, has launched a luxury wedding service this season to provide packages for the wedding season.
French luxury retailer, Eternite Noir et Blanc, announced recently that it would manufacture and sell Indian lehengas to cater to the Indian wedding market.