Women's Workwear Fashion That Makes Every 'Body' Happy

FS Life, a house of brands, claims to sell western office-wear that flatters Indian women of all shapes and sizes. The D2C startup recently onboarded actors Sonakshi Sinha, Huma Khureshi and Srinidhi Shetty as brand ambassadors

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Do you stand before the mirror every morning struggling to put together a smart yet comfortable outfit for work? Having exhausted all your band gala (mandarin collar) suits and handloom khadi cotton sarees, do you routinely get flashbacks of Alicia Florrick's impeccably tailored Armani power suits and luxe blazers on The Good Wife? Can the Indian professional woman ever find the right western workwear?

L-R FS Life Brand Ambassadors Sonakshi Sinha, Huma Khureshi and Srinidhi Shetty

Ayushi Gudwani, founder and CEO, FS Life, a house of brands, is working to solve precisely this problem.

"While working as a consultant for McKinsey years ago, I travelled across the world to meet clients and literally lived in my workwear. However, I often struggled with finding well-fitting, comfortable and stylish clothes since most brands' designs were crafted keeping western women in mind. Seeing this as a big opportunity, I spoke to over 1,000 Indian working women to understand their clothing requirements for work. Soon I decided to pursue this as a business and extensively collected the measurements of over 200 women to understand Indian women's diverse body types," explains Gudwani.

It was then that she finalised the first cut of the fit algorithm of FableStreet, her pilot clothing brand.

During 2020, while FableStreet was flourishing as a women's workwear brand, the onset of the pandemic began making the category irrelevant, leading the company towards a massive product revamp and expansion. FableStreet then evolved into a multi-category western wear brand, which included not only workwear but also evening and day wear, among others. This experimentation at FableStreet and its resulting success led to the launch of two more brands—Mikoto and Marigold—two months apart from each other, giving birth to FS Life, a house of brands.

"While working on building the brand, I was driven by the idea of solving the problem statement and was not aggressively looking out for funding. I started the business by investing all my savings into it. I did not want to raise funds till I knew that my idea could become something big and I only went to the market once there was a POC and initial traction. At this stage, I was fortunate to have friends, family and peers who had conviction in my idea and decided to back me," she states.

Although initially many, including Gudwani, were doubtful of D2C brands' possible success, the past couple of years have extinguished these fears as multiple brands have crossed INR 1,000 crore in revenue per year, inspiring unprecedented interest among investors.

Fashion is not the easiest sub-category to work in owing to working capital issues, the complexity of the SKUs (stock keeping unit) and the need to have constant product evolution. "But that works to our advantage as we have figured out a model to churn new product launches every 15 days, growing aggressively and still managing a near zero working capital. We are, therefore, amongst the handful of fashion companies which investors are keen to work with," claims Gudwani.

She states that the company has grown nearly 10 times in the last two years and that its growth trajectory is still continuing. FS Life has recently onboarded three brand ambassadors—actors Sonakshi Sinha, Huma Khureshi and Srinidhi Shetty—to boost its brand philosophy, that is, making clothes that flatter women of all shapes and sizes.

"You will keep seeing a lot more from us in the coming times and we are confident about entering the INR 1,000 crore club in the next 3-5 years," asserts Gudwani.