Australia’s largest fashion retailer, Cotton On Group, is now in India through an exclusive deal with e-commerce platform Myntra. Among the retailer’s portfolio of eight brands, Cotton On (apparel) and Rubi (accessories)—are currently available here while the rest will follow suit by 2020. Following the digital launch in April , the conglomerate plans to launch its own online and offline stores over the next two years. Lounge spoke to Sumanto Das, co-founder of Singapore-based AVS Global Network which manages the firm, on the new venture. Edited excerpts:
What inspired the launch of Cotton On Group in India?
Predominantly, there has been a majority of American and European brands in the Indian retail space. With the advent of style categories such as streetwear, sportswear and athleisure, there is a huge demand for fresh fashion, and that’s what Cotton On is known for.
Can you describe the brand styles?
Even though the brand styles are trend-driven, they are rendered in an unassumingly easy-going manner. Essential streetwear such as jackets, separates, dresses, etc., with none or simple prints, and denim constitute a big part of the brands. One of the brands, Tbar, has collaborated with other brands such as Disney, Universal Music, Virgin, etc., to make T-shirts. Rubi is known for shoes and bags, while Typo is good for other quirky accessories.
Your take on the Indian market and its consumption patterns?
Sportswear and streetwear used to be a very small market in India but are now slowly picking up. Many consumers are becoming conscious of the importance of health and fitness, and it’s making them savvy about brands which meet their lifestyle expectation.
Consumers are gradually shifting towards brands that want to connect to them. They are now digitally discovering fashion, and, because of that, the brands’ relationships with their consumers have to be authentic.
What challenges and opportunities do you expect here?
A definite risk is how underplayed Australian culture is in India. Building that genuine connection and brand awareness will take time to reach the country’s many subcultures. But it could work as an opportunity to build a new story around the brand with our customers.