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These Entrepreneurs are Riding the Wave of Luxury Apparel Market Growth in India Brands like Bellissimo, Brunito and Camessi have already made a bold fashion statement in the bespoke shirts and trousers segment by wooing the country's rich and famous

By Baishali Mukherjee

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With more and more people embracing products designed to suit individual taste, the bespoke and niche apparel market in the country is witnessing a boom like never before. Industry analysts expect the market to grow exponentially over the next few years as fashion becomes more informed, individualistic and inimitable in terms of choice.

Wooing the Rich and Famous

Brands like Bellissimo (meaning beautiful, in Italian), Brunito and Camessi have already made a bold fashion statement in the bespoke shirts and trousers segment by wooing the country's rich and famous. The first two brands are owned by Ramgopal Rajpuria, the Kolkata based octogenarian exclusive shirt-maker. Camessi, on the other hand, belongs to Spell Fashion Pvt Ltd. funded by the promoters of BSE-listed Reliance Chemotex. The brands are all set for a pan India expansion and are expecting the market to double over the next few years.

With sports legends like Sachin Tendulkar, Saurav Ganguly, Brett Lee and leading business honchos including S K Burman of Dabur, Shiv Jatia of Hyatt Group, Sanjiv Goenka of RP Sanjiv Goenka Group, top-shots of KFC India, Usha Martin, MacDonald's India, Emami, as his clients Rajpuria is now focussed to capture the fancy of the young.

"The "bespoke', or luxury segment has made its uniqueness felt amongst the top-notch section of the country and we have successfully leveraged this top custom-built segment. Our tailoring unit creates premium cotton shirts catering to the desires of the fashionable and niche individuals. The products particularly focus on matching customers' individuality and the occasion for which it is made," shared the veteran industry leader.

The latest brand from Rajpuria named, Bellissimo is dedicated to the young and trendy. The product range includes evening and party wears and boasts a vast repertoire of hues, designs and style. Totally handmade in design, each shirt from the Bellissimo stable comes with the promise of being the only one of its kind.

Bringing out the Subtle Facets of Personality

Camessi echoes the same idea which goes like this- "man and his clothes are cut from the same cloth'. According to Sanjiv Shroff, director at Camessi, garments are an intrinsic part of the wearer's persona. Camessi aims to bring to highlight the subtle facet of the customer's personality in its merchandise. Offering the right ensemble for the perceptive individual is what we strive for," he informed.

Rajpuria imports his raw material from Italy and Germany. He has a set of 50 tailors working with him since 2001 and creating 13000 shirts annually. Camessi's customer base spans across India and abroad, and has most of the leading industrialists and Bollywood bigwigs in the list. Made with cotton, silks and blends the raw materials are procured from Italy and Switzerland. The brand offers a range of 1,500 fabric swatches and design samples updated every quarter and makes only 2500 shirts and 30 trousers per month to remain a unique brand of, particularly high-end products. Bellissimo is priced at Rs1800- Rs 9000 per shirt, Camisso at Rs 6,500 to Rs 52000 while Camisso trousers are available at Rs12000 to Rs.85,000.

The aspirations of these brands are justified as the cotton wear market has always been very sturdy across India. The fad for blends/mixtures in yarn has hardly made any difference in the traditional taste and demand of Indians. The market is huge and the fashionable Indians are increasing espousing cotton.

Not Just Selling Products but Telling Stories

Jayanta Samaddar, an artist and entrepreneur who aims to retain both identities, is the founder of Kollab, a street-wear fashion brand aimed at artists, rebels and independent thinkers. Kollab is also a pun, the abbreviation for Kolkata Lab, a tribute to the independent artist scene in Kolkata.

Samaddar believes that the world has two kinds of people - conformists and rebels, and an artist is necessarily a rebel. He intends to put forth the issues of young artists including the lack of appreciation, societal discrimination and so on through his products.

"Deep within, independent artists and youngsters are frustrated to the core. And so are many creative youngsters who hide their creativity within because of being labelled, judged and because they beat their head against this invisible wall set up by the industry. These feelings are what drive the style and language of the clothing brand that Kollab is today," he enthused.

The fashion tastes of the street and hip hop culture - DJs, Rappers, Dancers, Graffiti Writers etc. greatly inspired the young-preneur to start Kollab. Fashion according to him is just a social currency that gives us security and identity. "You can hide your face wearing a hoodie that says "Approach with Caution" and a cap; it reflects your current state of mind," elaborate the young rebel. One of the main strengths of his business model is a global market and a growing demand for streetwear. His USP remains in the unique yet universal story and designs that back it up. He is also playing the niche card that hasn't been explored much in the country but has a huge potential.

Samaddar's customers are in the age group of 18-35 and he has also shipped orders to Canada. "It's not just T-shirts that we sell; we tell stories and share emotions of the artists, rebels and independent thinkers. Name one brand that has such a story - Indian or otherwise!" he concluded.

Baishali Mukherjee

Former Freelancer


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