CEO Talk | Priya Kishore, Founder and Creative Director, Bombay Electric

Priya Kishore, a beacon for Bombay's new creative elite, courtesy of Bombay Electric

NEW DELHI, India – When Priya Kishore and Bombay Electric hit Mumbai a few years ago, Mumbaikars didn’t know what was coming. No sooner had Kishore arrived than she became a beacon for Bombay’s new creative elite – one with a rightful place on the world stage. A friend while she lived in London, Priya always had this wonderful creative streak, dressed in quirky clothes and popping colours. No wonder Mumbai

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The Brit Pack | Published in Vogue India

LONDON, United Kingdom and MUMBAI, India - Over dinner at Milan Fashion Week last February, I got to talking to Bandana Tewari, Fashion Features Director of Vogue India, about the renewed energy in London fashion. Naturally, her first question was what Indian designers were doing to contribute to the London scene, particularly as India continues to emerge for a centre for world-class design. The result of our conversation is this Vogue India article on Indian designers based in London. While writing the piece, I got to know three Indian designers with three amazing stories, each of which started in India and subsequently took them all over the world, until they finally ended up in London. Between them, Ashish Gupta, Saloni…

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Luxury in India | Published in the Financial Times

MUMBAI, India and SHANGHAI, China - If it's the Monday of Milan Fashion Week, it also means that the Financial Times has published its regular supplement on The Business of Fashion. We're a couple of days late, so in case you missed it, here is a link to a PDF of the entire supplement available on the FT's Partnership Publishing site. Amongst the best reads are a fascinating article by Josh Sims featuring a brand that I have come to know well in recent times, Clemens en August. Founder Alexander Brenninkmeijer ably describes the counter-intuitive, but successful business model that underpins this innovative company. Another article, on A Bathing Ape, asserts that the Japanese streetwear company has a 98% sell-through…

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India’s slow Internet march

One look at the current advertising campaign for Hermès, and it's clear that India is on the radar screen of Western luxury brands. But this is not a new phenomenon. At the recent Walpole Seminar on China & India, Dr. Amin Jaffer, International Director of Asian Art at Christie’s, described the long relationship that India has had with European luxury brands, dating back to the late 1800's. Today, however, things aren't as straightforward. Other Walpole seminar participants like Mohan Murjani (of the Murjani Group - partners to Jimmy Choo, Gucci and Bottega Veneta in India) also revealed that new luxury entrants in India are up against strong domestic players, labyrinthine bureaucracy, and inconsistent infrastructure. Break-even will take longer than some…

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Luxury in India | Not just a cut-and-paste

While China may have the unyielding focus of many Western luxury brands today, many players are already beginning to set their sights on India for the next wave of expansion. But, as global luxury players begin to tentatively test these Indian waters, they are finding that India, which has its own vibrant indigenous cultural scene, may require a different expansion strategy altogether. With Bollywood stars and local Cricket legends that get more attention in India than their Western cultural equivalents, there is no blank canvas in India upon which to paint Western tastes. Locals on the streets of Shanghai and Beijing have, by and large, adopted Western dress, but those in Delhi and Mumbai  are more likely to fuse East…

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Stella McCartney | Taking Asia by storm

Bolstered by a string of well-received collections in recent seasons, positive feedback from the sales floor, and her newly profitable status, Stella McCartney is setting her sights on Asia.  In 2007, the brand signed an exclusive distribution deal with the Lane Crawford Joyce Group to open 10 freestanding stores in China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macao, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia by 2012. And yesterday, McCartney announced a partnership with TSG International Marketing Pvt to open 6 stores across India, including two stores by the end of this year. Boy have things changed for the upstart brands in Gucci's portfolio. After years of operating in the red, there was much hoopla in 2007 when Stella McCartney and Alexander McQueen finally broke-even,…

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Q&A: Is the Asian Luxury explosion on the rocks?

This month's Monocle magazine plays "Spot the Shopper" at one of China's cavernous new luxury malls. Have a look -- there's barely a shopper in sight. We've been hearing similar reports about luxury malls and stores in Russia, and the (admittedly anecdotal) fashion grapevine says that luxury stores in India are struggling as well. Add this to the economic uncertainty sweeping through the global economy and it's enough to step back  and wonder: is this whole Asian luxury explosion overstated? Not according to Radha Chadha, a leading expert on Asia's luxury boom and co-author of the book The Cult of the Luxury Brand: Inside Asia's Love Affair With Luxury. Turns out that some companies and luxury projects are just not…

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Vogue: India has arrived

I wanted to share with the BoF community an exciting step in the evolution of Indian fashion that marks the official arrival of India on the global fashion scene. For years, Western designers and global brands have  used Indian craftsmanship, culture and history as  an inspiration for fashion. From intricate embroidery this season on Marchesa's "Raj and in Charge" dresses for Spring/Summer 2008 to khaki's from Gap, Ralph Lauren and Abercrombie and Fitch that have outfitted generations of Americans, India's influence on global fashion goes all the way from the high-street to the high-end. Today, my good friend Bandana Tewari, Fashion Features Editor of Vogue India , graciously sent me an image of the first cover for the newest magazine…

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New York Fashion Week: Sabyasachi’s talking bout a revolution

Sabyasachi showed his S/S 2008 collection in New York last night to a crowd mixed with New York City-based Indian socialites, important fashion journalists like Laird Borrelli-Persson of Style.com and Meredith Melling-Burke of Vogue, and other curious onlookers eager to see what the "Hermes of India" would come up with this season. As Laird told me before the show after she had taken a quick pre-show sneak peek backstage, it was "classic Sabya". He sent out rich Indian fabrics in a deep "revolutionary" colour palette of burnt orange, forest green and indian khaki, cut in classic (sometimes very voluminous) Western silhouettes. Revolutionary symbols from Russia, Cuba and elsewhere accented the clothes, which strummed along to Tracy Chapman and perhaps a…

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