“It is the first time, and most probably, the last time that H&M is selling sarees because of our collaboration with an Indian designer. The idea is to surprise consumers and we will have to see what response we get and how it fits the future,” said H&M’s India CEO JanneEinola at RAI Retail Leadership Summit.
Mumbai :Swedish fast-fashion retailer Hennes&Mauritz (H&M) said it will launch sarees in India by mid-April as part of its partnership with designer Sabyasachi Mukherjee, the first-ever instance of any ethnic product being launched by the world’s second-largest clothing firm globally. The Stockholm-based H&M stocks fast fashion items created in-house and teams up with designers for one-time collections, but has restricted its merchandise to western wear. “It is the first time, and most probably, the last time that H&M is selling sarees because of our collaboration with an Indian designer. The idea is to surprise consumers and we will have to see what response we get and how it fits the future,” said H&M’s India CEO JanneEinola at RAI Retail Leadership Summit.
Sabyasachi, who has dressed celebrities including DeepikaPadukone, Nita Ambani and Oprah Winfrey among others, sells products for Rs 2 lakh and upwards on an average. However, H&M said their collection in collaboration will the designer would be completely mass-priced as an effort to democratise fashion.
In India, ethnic wear is the single biggest category in women’s wear accounting for over 70% of the segment with saree controlling a third of the market with its market size of Rs 39,350 crore, according to Technopak. Last year, Japanese rival Uniqlo, had launched special collection of Kurta during its Indian entry after partnering Delhi-based designer Rina Singh. Nearly two years ago, Tata-owned Titan, too, launched its saree brand Taneira.
“H&M’s strategy will help increase curiosity among consumers and sarees would like a collectors item. H&M is also trying to create interest for the new collection with merchandise going beyond its conventional western wear,” SubrataSiddhanta, CEO at Texperts, a fashion specialist firm.
H&M has opened a store a month in India on average so far since its entry in India in October 2015. The retailer has 47 doors and is the second-largest fast fashion brand after Zara. The retailer follows a December-November financial year, and reported sales growth of 45% to Rs 1,491 crore in 2019. With China,
large apparel sourcing hub facing factory shutdowns after grappling with the Covid-19 outbreak, H&M said it could look at an increased souring from India for its global needs if trade barriers are relaxed. “A large numbers of our stores are located in the US and Europe and since India doesn’t have a free trade agreement, it becomes very costly to source from the country,” added Einola.
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