New Delhi: Taking cues from international celebrities, Indian film actors and cricketers are increasingly launching their own clothing and accessories brands to cash in on a category that industry executives and analysts believe has remained untapped so far in the country.
Former Indian cricketer Sachin Tendulkar in January launched his own sportswear and cricket equipment range titled “Sachin by Spartan” in association with an Australian sporting gear and equipment company Spartan Sports International. The range features three different collections and is being retailed in India and 12 other countries, including the UK, New Zealand and Australia.
Actor Shahid Kapoor in October launched his fashion brand Skult, in an exclusive tie-up with Aditya Birla group-owned online fashion store abof.
In the past one year, several celebrities, including cricketer Yuvraj Singh and actors Kriti Sanon and Sonam Kapoor (and her sister Rhea Kapoor), have tied up with designers and retailers to launch their own apparel brands.
Industry executives said the number of celebrity-owned fashion brands has seen a surge in the past one year.
“The number of brands in this space is limited. So, the market is right for such launches. There is a big chunk of consumers in India who are influenced by celebrities. The market is rapidly expanding,” said Anjana Reddy, founder and chief executive officer at Tendulkar-backed celebrity fashion company Universal Sportsbiz Pvt. Ltd (USPL).
USPL offers celebrity fashion lines of cricketer Virat Kohli (menswear brand Wrogn) and actor Shraddha Kapoor (ethnic wear brand Imara).
The company recently added another celebrity in its portfolio with the launch of women’s western wear brand Ms Taken by film actor Kriti Sanon. USPL closed 2015-16 at Rs62 crore in revenue and is hoping to double the figure this year.
The inspiration behind these launches, some say, are international celebrities like singers Justin Timberlake and Jessica Simpson who own and operate large global portfolios of branded products.
“In India, it has always been the popular designers operating in this space. But now, the mainstream celebrities are also exploring retail space for lucrative investments just like Hollywood stars,” said an executive in the business who did not want to be named.
Reddy, however, attributed the growth in the market to high demand from the smaller towns and cities across the country.
“The demand is coming from tier-II and tier-III markets. In such tie-ups, celebrities are helping customers recall the brand. The brands become popular because of the personalities associated with them,” she said.
Manish Mandhana, managing director at Mandhana Retail Ventures, the exclusive global licensee of actor Salman Khan’s Being Human clothing agreed. The company is planning to expand its footprint across smaller cities by opening 100 exclusive Being Human stores in the next four years in cities like Raipur, Bikaner, Guwahati and Vapi.
“The aspirational value for Being Human is very high in tier II and tier III towns. These cities are growing and the disposable income is good because of which these become the focus area,” said Mandhana. The royalties from Being Human support education and health care initiatives of the Salman Khan Foundation.
Between 2013 and 2015, Being Human’s sales turnover expanded nearly four times to Rs 235 crore from Rs 60 crore, according to data from consulting firm KPMG.
Additionally, online marketplaces like Amazon, Myntra and Flipkart have further helped the brands to penetrate smaller towns and cities. Fashion portal Myntra, for instance, is the sole retailer of ‘All About You’ by Deepika Padukone and ‘HRX’ by Hrithik Roshan.
“Both the brands do extremely well and are among the top 20 brands sold on our platform. Celebrity-led brands have a very strong and large fan following and have made their brands extremely popular,” said Manohar Kamath, head, Myntra Fashion Brands (MFB). The platform also sells other brands like Wrogn, Being Human, Imara, Ms Taken and YWC by Yuvraj Singh.
However, not everyone is convinced about celebrity-backed brands business. “International celebs launch limited edition collections but a whole line of celebrity-owned products has seen limited success globally also. Fans respect the celebrities for their fields. There is a limited connect fans find with the celebrities beyond their respective fields,” said Rajat Wahi, partner and head (consumer markets), at KPMG India.