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Advertising with the stars: A look at fashion biz

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Advertising with the stars: A look at fashion biz

The changing mindset of the Indian consumer has brought about an expansion in the fashion retail sector locally, nationally and internationally right from the early 1960s. Fashion retailing got its reach when the brands from this category decided to use marketing and advertising activities aggressively. This segment has a rich history and is one of the first brand categories in India to use boldness and expressions to its best in the communication plans.

It was in 1960, Pupul Jayakar, then a leading Indian designer, inspired the creation of India’s first designer house, Handloom House. Even in black and white, Handloom ads spun its six yard magic and models such as Zeenat Aman, later superstar, added to the spell. It was set up to promote indigenous weavers of khadi and handloom textiles.

Interestingly the brands of the fashion retailing segment used famous faces from then to get the brand connect. Every era had a fashion icon. Sharmila Tagore launched Bombay Dyeing polyester saris in the 70s. The 80s had their Persis Khambattas and Lisa Rays. Their magnetism and allure leapt off the page. Garden Vareli spins a web of magic around them. In the early days of fashion photography, the inspired and meticulously choreographed Garden ads stood out.

In the 90s, Shoppers Stop became not just a store but a shopping experience of the different kind. It was a place that trapped and ensnared you in the most delightful way. Gorgeous women and dramatic layouts with bold copy designed gave the classy look to the retailing advertising.

Men’s apparel brands also created rich advertising and brand positioning over the years. Zodiac is one such example. The success of Zodiac branding lies in its focus and reading of the target consumers. And with that, it has gone with clear positioning and creating value. No bad way to go, from a company that began in mid-50s with an abandoned consignment of silk, Zodiac has grown into Rs 400 crore plus transnational business today.

Somewhere along the line, the well-dressed male became ‘The Complete Man’, thanks to Raymond’s ever appealing brand messaging. Fine products, wide range, superb distribution and intelligent advertising support have helped the brand to gain a dominant share of the market. Many premium labels from the world's fashion capitals prefer Raymond.

Indian advertising continues to give the perfect look and feel, the color and texture of these brands even today. Though fashion retailing has taken the digital route today, Indian market is still primary dominated by the offline fashion retail stores.

The above insight is from the book Adkatha, The Story of Indian Advertising. Late Bal Mundkur, Founder of Ulka Advertising and Gerson da Cunha, Ex-Chief of Lintas and Communications Advisor to various central ministries, got together in late 2010 to put together the best of the best work from Indian advertising which was never seen or heard before. While Mundkur rose the necessary funding, Da Cunha took charge of the content. They roped in Anand Halve and Anita Sarkar to write the book. The result is a beautiful coffee table creation, lavishly illustrated – a mirror of the profession and business through the decades.

Put together by Priyanka Nair

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