Little Red Book

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This is a Chinese fashion house that’s raising $200 million from Tencent at a $2.5 Billion valuation.
Have you heard of this fashion house and retailer at all?
It’s easy. Google. See. But that’s not the point.

Myntra started years back. Some good guys did what they did with it. Before it was bought over by a aggressive marketplace. It still does well enough to be quoted here and there. But no more. I don’t see it as a house of fashion.
Neither are any of the other marquee brands in the country. They are just good retailers. Where is the fashion house that has turned indian fashion completely on it’s head? Okay, there is Anita Dongre. She has done a bit. Some people do swear by AND and Global Desi. But the numbers are very small.

Wedding fashion and Manyavar are treated as synonymous. That’s good too.
But nothing else comes to mind. Not at a big level. Sarees and Jewellery I will leave be for the time being.
The point is a good brand with a sharp good creative strategy works every time. But yet, we do not have some all – encompassing brands that are born in this country.

Yes, the Urban male has on occasions treated himself to Louis Phillippe or Van Heusen or Allen Solly. Madura and Arvind are Indian companies. But they too have gone the foreign brand franchising route to shore up revenues.
Have they hit the big time? The jury is out there. Peter England, I believe, at the lower end of the men fashion spectrum, is doing fabulous business. A little funny, as an Indian company had to name a brand “England” for it to work.

Okay, so we were talking big-time brands. Show me the big time brands out of India.
John Player could have been one. Isn’t. Satya Paul could have been one, isn’t. Most of the others are relegated to some 15-20 cities.

I have long thought that India is so big a country that one brand cannot straddle such a large geography. But in watches, Titan does. Porbandar to Digboi and Srinagar to Trivandrum, the brand has made it’s mark. So does Tanishq in jewellery. Pan Indian brands. So why isn’t there a brand that is great and yet it does the business that’s enviable. China is a large country too. Larger than ours. And they have Little Red Book.
Is it in the fashion per se or in the management?

Or is it the usual chicken and egg situation? If sales does not occur, why would I design and manufacture? Or if I design and manufacture, will there be sales?

I believe that if the fashion is designed really well and there is a clamour for the design from all over, there’s technology and analytics, reach out to your customer, sell it while the going is good. Little Red Book has done that exactly.

And no, “Little Red Book” does not have anything to do with communism. It’s just a crazily named name.

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