Urban Blackberrys, a leading men’s fashion brand in India, recently launched a branding identity for their new line of men’s garments. ‘Why Plan’, the company’s new branding coinage, adds itself to the growing menswear options in India. Mallika Misra, Sr. Manager, URBAN Product Merchandising, Urban Blackberrys spoke to BE’s Isha Chakraborty about their plans, emerging trends and the overall scenario of the menswear retail market. Urban Blackberrys, a leading men’s fashion brand in India, recently unveiled their new brand identity centred around the ‘Why Plan’ campaign. Mallika Misra, Sr. Manager, URBAN Product Merchandising, Urban Blackberrys spoke to BE’s Isha Chakraborty about their plans and the emerging trends in the menswear retail market.
Q. Tell us about your growth journey?
A. Urban as an individual brand was launched in 2014. We identified a gap in the menswear market and tried to target that segment. Our journey has been eventful and we have done a lot of experimentation. The target group of our brand is the millennial (18-25 age group) and the fashion conscious man.
Last year, we did business of around Rs.90 crore and witnessed a growth of around 65%. We are aiming for Rs.150 crore of business for the next financial year. We believe that there is a lot of potential in this segment and our target customers have the required purchasing bandwidth. Urban, as a brand, has the style of the runaway; it is fashionable and also wearable. We have trendy prints, various checks, dobby solids and jacquard solid designs, which are all fashionable yet commercial. The prices of our products vary and some of our products fall in the premium segment.
Q. What is Urban Blackberry’s strong point?
A. As I told you earlier, we are very close to the runway. We are bold enough to give a consumer something that he probably wants but is missing from the market. Normal fashion can be very boring. We try to be innovative in our designing. Even if we are doing a basic shirt, we would try to experiment with it. For example, we will work on the trim and make the prints bold or add some innovative design patterns.
We have received positive response and that means there is a market for such experimental designs. We are also experimenting with the fittings, carrying the legacy of best quality and best fit in the market from our mother brand, Blackberrys.
Q. How do you invest on branding?
A. We have unleashed this brand as a standalone brand so as to engage a larger portion of the market. We have slowly invested in marketing this brand and now there is a very aggressive marketing plan around this brand. There is a rise in the number of people coming into the stores and that is because there is a rising acceptance of our brand. We now need to focus on getting more footfalls because once a consumer tries a garment, the chances of him buying the garment is quite high.
Q. What is the story behind the new branding coinage ‘Why Plan’?
A. The personality of this guy who wears Urban is a wanderer; one who is ready to experiment, is curious and confident. He has not planned his life and he is spontaneous. The branding idea explores this spirit and tries to build on it.
Q. Tell us something about your Summer Spring Collection. What kind of fabric are you using? Is it suitable for the Indian climate?
A. In India, different regions have different needs and the consumer behaviour is different. So as a brand we try to give the width that can suffice the needs of all the regions. Talking of summers, the best fabric for the season is linen. We do have a large linen variety in our collection. We try to factor in region specific trends as well. For example, for the south Indian states, we have more half sleeved options.
Q. What is the trend that consumers have followed in the past few years and what would be your response to the current trends?
A. Five years ago, the menswear market was not that experimental. The market for women’s garment had been far more experimental. But the market for menswear has evolved fast. For example, floral prints have come into vogue. Printed designs are also in demand. The slim fit is also another emerging trend in this segment.
Q. How is the retail market in India for menswear fashion brands?
A. The home-office-home concept is gone. With rising disposable incomes, men are not shying away from splurging on their fashion quotient. Additionally, there is a societal shift that can be noticed. Men are now ready to experiment. A large number of urban men are increasingly becoming fashion conscious. Their choices are also influenced by FOMO (fear of missing out) whereby they don’t mind buying shirts with quirky, fashionable prints, having popping colours etc. We, as a brand, understand that the attention span of a man is very different from a woman. We target to attract that attention and convert it.
Q. What challenges are faced by menswear brands in the Indian market?
A. The biggest challenge is that there is increasing competition in the retail space. Additionally, the consumers are not loyal to particular brands anymore. The consumer needs to be attracted through USPs and continuous engagement by the companies.
Q. What has aided growing awareness about men’s fashion?
A. Media and global access have made things easier for us. Now people can log into Instagram and see whatever is trending. Now men are not shy of experimenting and even if someone wears ditzy prints to office it is considered cool. People are highly mobile and often, they need that extra shirt they can change into after work and hang out with friends. The avenues, incomes, and access to fashion are increasing.