High Street Essentials Raises INR 40 Cr From Stride Ventures The startup has also forayed into the premium occasion wear market with a new brand, Indya Luxe

By Soumya Duggal

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Delhi-based fashion house High Street Essentials (HSE), the parent company of women's fashion brands FabAlley and Indya, has raised INR 40 crore from Stride Ventures.

HSE has also announced brand Indya's foray into the premium occasion wear category with a new range, Indya Luxe. The Luxe range comprises intricately detailed ensembles suitable for occasion and festive wear, priced between INR 6,500 and INR 18,000, said a statement.

"We value the trust and confidence that Stride Ventures has shown in us and are excited about building the company with their support. The investment has come at the right time as we kick-start our next leg of success with key category expansions and scaling our offline and online presence to further solidify our position as a leading women's lifestyle and fashion retail company," said Shivani Poddar and Tanvi Malik, co-founders, HSE.

According to a report by the US International Trade Commission, the textile and apparel industry is one of the leading segments of the Indian economy and the largest source of foreign exchange earnings for India. This industry accounts for four per cent of the gross domestic product, 20 per cent of industrial output and slightly more than 30 per cent of export earnings. The textile and apparel industry employs about 38 million people, making it the largest source of industrial employment in India, stated the report.

"We are elated to support High Street Essentials as they bring a wave of change in the women's fashion and apparel industry. HSE through its bold, inclusive and fashion-forward brands and robust marketing strategies has been very successful in creating a unique market identity. We are pleased to be associated with the company and look forward to envisaging their growth journey as they foray into the premium wear segment with Indya Luxe," said Apoorva Sharma, partner, Stride Ventures.

Founded in 2012, HSE is aimed at "the modern Indian woman' and has two brands under its wing. Indya offers a line of modern Indian wear. HSE's latest offering, Indya Luxe, taps the wedding guest market with a line of heavily-detailed premium occasion wear, said the statement. Meanwhile, FabAlley is a fast-fashion brand for western apparel and accessories.

Fast fashion is the rapid and mass production of trendy inexpensive, low-quality and disposable clothing in countries with lax regulatory frameworks regarding pollution and labor rights, such as India, China, Bangladesh and Indonesia. Popular names in the global fast-fashion industry, whose market size was $91.23 billion in 2021, include H&M, Forever 21, Zara, Gap and Shein, among others. Currently, H&M has over 50 retail stores and Zara has over 22 stores in India, a top global manufacturing hub of fast fashion.

According to The Borgen Project, Indian garment workers face exploitation, poor wages and unsafe working conditions while working for fast-fashion brands. About 12.9 million individuals work in sweatshops and millions more work in informal settings, typically in their homes.

India is set to become one of the most attractive consumer markets for apparel outside the West, with more than 300 international fashion brands expected to open stores in the country between 2022 and 2023, according to consultancy firm McKinsey. Japanese fast-fashion retailer Uniqlo, for instance, is investing heavily in the Indian market. Additionally, the government has relaxed foreign direct investment norms to benefit these international fast-fashion retailers.

Soumya Duggal

Former Feature Writer

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