How This Designer Duo is Giving a Bold New Look to Swimwear
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Growing up in separate cities, Shivan and Narresh had a knack for arts and its application. While, Shivan was obsessed with nature and its artful ways of expressing itself, Narresh explored on canvases with bold strokes. The duo finally met in NIFT Delhi, to explore fashion as a medium of art. Prior to leaving for Italy to do their masters, Shivan and Narresh were already focused on launching their own brand. “While we were in Italy, this notion was further reinforced every time we had the opportunity to interact and learn from top executive of global luxury brands such as Rolls Royce, Gucci and Bvlgari, to name a few,” says Shivan.
During such educative sessions and mentoring, they came to know about India’s pioneering role in nurturing some of the biggest luxury brands, including automobiles and jewelry, and the country’s luxury market, which is essentially untapped, has tremendous growth potential.
“This fact made us very proud. But, it also seemed ironic that while we helped big European houses to become international players, we do not have any homegrown luxury brands to be proud of,” adds Narresh. This bolstered their desire to launch ‘Shivan & Narresh’, India’s first luxury ‘holiday brand’ with swimwear being its core product. India with the youngest population of the world that has a desire to spend on travel, holidays and weddings, marked a perfect fertile ground for them as a brand to flourish very quickly.
Both of them are distinguished personalities and think very differently. When asked how the two of them think together, Narresh resonates, “We both bring completely different skill sets to the table. Shivan thinks silhouettes and I, on the other hand, think colours and elements of prints that would form the story for the following collection.”
Creativity and business are often looked apart. On how they balance the two, Shivan shares, “When we started out, we were advised by a lot of people to rethink our strategy of exploring swimwear because they believed that India’s market was not ready for swimwear. We preferred to creatively find an answer to this problem - by addressing confidence over fashion for a category that is largely looked upon from a glamorous perspective.”
Hence, they started working on a standardized Indian body measurement to ensure that the women don’t have to force themselves into those compared to the swimsuits of EU or American sizes; much like in the case of the immediate industry.
Going forward, they opened their flagship store at DLF Emporio, New Delhi and across shop-in-shops at luxury resorts and multi-designer boutiques in India. The duo has also recently launched the Shivan & Narresh Man, targeting a holistic holiday wardrobe for men.
(This article was first published in the August 2017 issue of Entrepreneur Magazine. To subscribe, click here)