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From implying aesthetics alone to becoming a full-fledged industry, fashion designing has come a long way in India. According to McKinsey’s FashionScope report, the Indian apparel market is expected to reach USD 59.3 billion by 2022, making it the sixth-largest market in the world. It is among the largest employers in India and contributes 5% to the GDP. The proliferation of technology, the advent of e-commerce and thrust by the government through conducive policies such as Startup India, Make in India, Aatma Nirbhar Bharat have given a fillip to fashion startups in India in2020.Consequently, fashion business management has also emerged as a sought-after course for aspiring students of fashion designing.
The fashion startups in India 2020 have reinvented the business landscape through innovative offerings and retail models, leveraging of technology and curated customer experiences. Some of them have become synonymous with their categories and continue reigning supreme in the market due to their ingenious marketing strategies, the sheer value of their offerings, or by offering personalized experiences to their customers. Here are top fashion startups disrupting the industry.
Limeroad: Limeroad is a fashion and apparel e-commerce company that has disrupted the online fashion business management landscape in India. It was founded in 2012 by Ankush Mehra, Manish Saksena, Prashant Malik and Suchi Mukherjee and is headquartered in New Delhi. Limeroad functions as an aggregator for products supplied by over 1500 vendors. It is among the most popular fashion startups with over 40,000 active shoppers who create around 20 lakhs looks. It has also diversified into the kitchen and home products. According to data on Crunchbase, the company has to date raised $50 Mn from five investors in three funding rounds. Bolstered by rapid growth in revenue, the startup plans to establish 2000-3000 offline brand stores in the future.
Flyrobe: Founded in2015 by Pranay Surana, Shreya Mishra and Tushar Saxena, this startup has pioneered the concept of asset utilization and rental economy in fashion business management. Headquartered in Mumbai, Flyrobe offers a collection of ethnic wear online that can be taken on rent by customers across India. It is now acquired by Rent It Bae. The new company is now worth INR 60 crores. It intends to expand in India, Dubai, London, and the US through a franchise model and widen its consumer base to one million in over 30 cities.
FableStreet: FableStreet was founded by Ayushi Gudwani in 2016. It is headquartered in New Delhi andis a pioneer in premium workwear fashion designing for women. The startup has raised more than $3 million to date. It also collaborated with a renowned designer Nandita Basu to launch limited capsule workwear. During the COVID-19 lockdown, it unveiled the' work from home' collection. Luxury and wearability for the Indian women are the key value propositions of its offerings. The startup plans to foray into accessories and offline retail in the future.
Zivame: Zivame was established in Bengaluru in 2011 by Richa Kar when the lingerie e-commerce stores were unheard of in fashion business management. Zivame has maintained a competitive edge in the lingerie segment by identifying changing consumer trends and quickly adapting its business model. Zivame also educated customers on finding the right fit through online fitting rooms and physical experience centers. Originally launched as a marketplace, it added its private-label offerings over time. The company has raised seven rounds of funding till now. It now plans to diversify product offerings and create new categories in shapewear, sleepwear, athleisure. In 2019, it came up with a new tagline, 'Love Yourself Inside Out.'
Boheco: This startup was established in 2013 by a team of six founders- Avnish Pandya, Chirag Tekchandaney, Delzaad Deolaliwala, Jahan Peston James, Sumit Shah and Yash P. Kotak at Mumbai. It aims to substitute the use of cotton in textiles with hemp. Boheco refers to itself as “the Argo-based enterprise reimagining the future of Indian agriculture and sustainable living with hemp as the lens.” It recognizes the potential of hemp as a multi-purpose utility as a fibre, shelter and human nutrition.
TrusTrace: Coimbatore-based Trustrace was founded by Shamik Ghosh and Hrishikesh Rajan in 2017. This startup is working in the area of reimagining the supply chain of textiles and apparel to achieve sustainability with the help of blockchain technology. TrusTrace collects, validates and analyses supply-chain data for every product. Its vital insights help brands to achieve supply chain traceability and transparency while informing customers about the products and educating them on their judicious use.
Kiabza: Kiabza is a marketplace for authentic, branded pre-owned fashion products. It allows vendors and end-users to sell pre-owned branded clothing and generate revenue and ensure buyers to receive it at an affordable price. Kiabza was founded by Nohar Nath in 2017 at Mumbai. It has partnered with Vidya and Teach for India in an endeavour to provide clothing to women from vulnerable communities.
Bigthinkx: Originally an ed-tech startup, Bigthinx’s Lyfsize and Lyflike AI software aims to enhance customer experiences in retail. It was founded by husband and wife- Shivang Desai and Chandralika Hazarika in 2015 and is headquartered in Bengaluru. These software determine exact body dimensions and match users with their ideal size for any brand. It allows them to see how clothing looks through a 3D virtual walkabout avatar that looks and measures exactly like the user. Bigthnix was the only Indian startup to be invited to Milan by a leading accelerator network, Startup Bootcamp (SBC), wherein it conducted the world's first 3D virtual reality fashion show.
Bulbul: Bulbul is India’s first video shopping application that was founded by the trio- Sachin Bhatia, Atit Jain and Sichen (Sianna) Liu. This Gurugram-based startup was launched in 2018 and hit close to 400,000 customers within eight months. Bulbul aims to Bulbul aims to disrupt the shopping experience through videos to sell products and services and aid consumers in making informed purchase decisions.
No Nasties: This Goa-based startup is working in the area of sustainable fashion. Founded by Apurva Kothari in 2011, it aims to promote the use of organic cotton and ensure a fair price to farmers across India. It is the first clothing brand to receive a Fairtrade licence in India. No Nasties promotes veganism by abstaining from the use of leather, silk, shell, bone, wool, and fur in its offerings. Its products are also free from animal testing and do not involve incidences of animal cruelty.
India has emerged as an epicentre of fashion designing owing to a diverse consumer base and scaling up in manufacturing capacities. These fashion startups in India 2020 have set the benchmark in innovation and collaboration and serve as role models for the fashion designing fraternity.
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